There is good news and bad news at the Kauai Humane Society where recent changes in the state’s animal quarantine rules are concerned.
If people wishing to bring pets to the state meet certain qualifications to guarantee rabies-free arrival of their four-legged loved ones, the quarantine period is just five days, instead of 30 to 120 days it was before the changes announced recently by Gov. Linda Lingle.
“This is the best news to hit the state of Hawaii,” said Dr. Rebecca “Becky” Rhoades, a veterinarian and head of the Kauai Humane Society.
She is referring to the shortened quarantine time as someone who has seen the pain and anguish that the longer quarantine period causes people and pets.
The bad news is that shorter quarantine period will mean less revenue for the society, which built a new facility along Kaumualii Highway outside Puhi with the intent of providing, among other services, quarantine facilities with the state’s longer quarantine rules in mind.
The shorter quarantine period will hurt society revenues, she acknowledged. Last year, about 300 animals came through the facility for quarantine.
“We netted over $50,000, used that in trying to improve and finish the building, paying electricity, and putting in sound reduction and ceiling installation to reduce noise from barking dogs,” she noted.
“It’s helped us tremendously, to finish this building,” Rhoades continued.
“We expect it (changes to quarantine rules) to significantly affect our boarding operations. I hope that all of the people moving to Kauai will not have to use the quarantine,” she said.
“I think there will be a small percentage of people who will not be able to comply, but I think since it will be significantly cheaper, it’s great,” she said.
“More and more people will figure out the system and be able to keep their animals on the Mainland with friends and family” until the short-stay quarantine measures are met.
“The biggest thing for me is making sure that people have a safe place to board their animals, and make sure they don’t have to give them up if they go on a trip or something,” said Rhoades.
But some society supporters say they can’t totally support the new quarantine rules if they mean more people will bring more animals to Kauai.
“We need to take care of our own before we bring more animals to the island,” said Holly Weiss, owner of Keiki Kottage in Kapaa. She said there are many unwanted animals here that new residents should consider adopting.
At her business, a children’s consignment shop, Weiss is holding a sale through this Sunday, June 29, with a portion of the proceeds going to the society.
A raffle drawing Sunday at 6 p.m. at the store is a total society benefit, with the winner getting a visit from artist and part-time Kauai resident Jaclyn Schunk. She will whimsically hand-paint any bedroom in the winner’s home.
If quarantine won’t be the revenue-generating service it had been in the recent past, Rhoades already has other plans for society space, she said.
“What we are looking at is possibly offering private boarding. We have to go through the county for approval,” she said. “There does appear to be a need. We get calls every day.
“It’ll all kind of play out. The way the building is set up, it’s possible to do the quarantine and private boarding,” she explained.
She has other plans, too, expanding on her idea of “continuing trying to give this building back in as many ways to the community.”
Some of those plans include offering dog-training classes through the Dog Fanciers of Kauai; developing an off-leash dog park on property behind the society building; developing a program to train shelter dogs to be assistive aides for elderly, handicapped or homebound Kauaians; and constructing livestock holding pens, she said.
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