Pet owners run out of patience with the shortage of inspectors and longer waits at Honolulu Airport’s quarantine station
The line of tired and weary pet owners can stretch out the door at the Honolulu Airport’s animal quarantine office, and tempers occasionally grow testy.
In just the last three weeks, the anti-rabies quarantine station has seen as many as 60 pet owners per day trying to squeeze through a time window that used to be 12 hours a day.
Since the number of inspectors reviewing both applications and animals was cut to two from four in December and mandatory furlough days went into effect, pet owners now have 31/2 fewer hours to get their pets processed through the increasingly busy quarantine station below Gate 26.
Positions targeted to balance state budget
By ILIMA LOOMIS, Staff Writer
POSTED: August 30, 2009
PUKALANI – Plant quarantine officials said last week that laying off more than half the state’s agricultural inspectors would create such a logjam at Hawaii ports that it could cause shortages similar to those seen during shipping strikes.
Carol Okada, manager of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch, said she has not been able to develop a plan for how her department will continue its core functions after it loses 52 employees, 50 of them inspectors, to layoffs planned for November.
She said food shipments to Maui and the other Neighbor Islands, which because of staff shortages would now have to be routed through Honolulu for inspection, would have to sit on the docks until the state’s remaining inspectors could look at them, with the risk that some food could spoil in the unchilled containers.
Speaking of animal quarantine policies, they exist not only in many foreign destinations, but also in the state of Hawaii. Further information is available at hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/info.
ADVISORY (August 17, 2009) –
The State of Hawai’i is currently faced with a significant budgetary shortfall. While it is still uncertain how budget cuts may affectservices by the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture, you should be aware that if you are qualifying your pet for direct release at Honolulu International Airport and are currently making travel arrangements, it may be prudent to arrange to arrive in Honolulu during between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. This is especially important if you are planning to take a connecting flight to another island with your pet the same day.
Currently, some employees have received layoff notices. In addition, the possibility of furloughs exists. In the event layoffs or furloughs or both are implemented, it can result in a reduction of the current hours of inspection for airport release. Animals that arrive at the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility after hours of inspection will be held overnight and processed the following morning.
We are providing this advisory as a precaution, because we realize that flight arrangements are usually made far in advance of travel. If the situation changes, we will update this webpage accordingly.
The airport office will continue to accept pets arriving from the airlines at Honolulu International Airport; however, we anticipate that inspection hours may be affected, which will result in delays in processing the inspection and release of pets at the airport.