Hawaii Living: What About My Pet?

Hawaii Living: What About My Pet?
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It's time to move to Hawaii but if you have pets there are rules and regulations you need be aware of and a few hoops that you'll need to jump through.

• General: DIY / How-To • General: Educational

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The unique eco system in Hawaii is protected by the state from animals imported, which may have diseases or illnesses. Rabies is of particular concern, as it does not exist on the Islands. Hawaii has strict laws on importing pets from outside the state, and the importation of animals must be cleared and have special permission.

Violation of Hawaiian law when it comes to the importation of animals comes with a penalty that may include up to three years of prison and fines reaching a half-million dollars. Therefore, the proper importation procedures must be followed to avoid any breaches of the law.

Hawaiian Importation Laws On Pets

Although the penalties are quite strong concerning the importation of animals to Hawaii, it also must be noted that most domesticated and some non-domesticated pets can be transported to the islands with relatively little difficulty. However, there are certain procedures that will need to be followed in order to stay within the law.

Quarantine Policy

Hawaii is a state that is rabies-free and any outbreak of rabies would be devastating to the animals on the island chain. Therefore, all pets which include puppies and kittens will have to meet the importation requirements that include being quarantined for a pre-determined period of time. Most pets will qualify under what is known as the “5-Day or Less” program where the animal is quarantined for a period no greater than five days to determine if they have rabies or not.

The 5 Day Or Less Program For Cats & Dogs

A pet may qualify for the “5 day or less program”, but it does require a bit of time and money. In total, you can have the process complete in 4 months or so, but at least your pet will not be in quarantine for 120 days. The process involves a few trips to the vet to have your pet fully checked out, microchipped, and given a certificate for a clean bill of health. Be aware that in order to prepare a kitten or puppy for the 5 day program, the pet needs to be at least 10 months of age by the time the animal arrives in Hawaii.

If your pet doesn’t meet the "5-Day or Less" requirements, then they are required to be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival. The quarantine is at the main airport which means that the pets will have to remain until they have been completely cleared of rabies. To qualify for the "5-Day or Less" program, the pet will need two separate inoculations for prevention of rabies with the last being at least 90 days before the pet comes to Hawaii.

Other Animals

In addition to domesticated pets such as dogs and cats, there are other animals which can be imported as well which includes sheep, horses, poultry, pigs or swine and some types of birds. However, there are also certain non-domesticated animals that cannot be imported no matter what.

Some of the animals on the list include alligators, bees, electric catfishes, ferrets, gerbils, hermit and coconut crabs, snakes and snapping turtles. If you have an exotic animal, then you will need to check it against the full list of prohibited animals that are allowed in Hawaii before you make your trip preparations.

Pets Sent Ahead or After You Arrive

Because pets will not be able to stay with you on the entirety of your trip, they can be sent ahead and then cleared by the time you arrive or at a point after you have arrived so that you can get your new home in order and then pick them up when ready.

While a little discombobulating at first, the strict pet importation rules of Hawaii can be followed with only minor difficulty and delay which ensures that your pet is safe for the island and will bring peace of mind to you and your neighbors.

For More information, be sure to visit http://hdoa.hawaii.gov.