Have pet - will travel
Have pet - will travel
Mulling over Guam's pet quarantine quandary
Guam is rabies-free and has a stringent animal rabies quarantine program. If your pet is not coming from a country or area recognized by Guam as rabies-free, then your pet will have to complete commercial quarantine on Guam. Guam’s quarantine law is designed to protect residents and pets from the devastating problems associated with the spread of rabies. The length of that quarantine varies. I really can’t remember too many times in my life that I didn’t have man’s best friend around. “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole,” said Roger Caras.
I remember moving in 1985 and the only thing I absolutely had to bring along was Muffin, our Brittany Spaniel, who wasn’t even a year old. It seemed logical at the time; she was like a baby to us. How could one leave a member of their family behind? Quite possibly you share the sentiments quoted above. Do your travel plans include Fido or Fluffy? Is it worth the hassle?
This article will give a brief outline of what you can expect through the quarantine process and highlight some points to consider before you decide if you should make the journey abroad with or without ‘Man’s Best Friend.’
The hardest part of the process for me was deciding if we could, in fact, get everything done in the window of time we had to work with. Then, wondering if our pet would be okay with all the stress. This was a house dog that rarely spent time alone. Back then, there was only one government run quarantine facility that lacked in many ways. Be that as it may, we were able to visit and play with our dog. Having Muffin here made our transition a little easier; bringing a familiar piece of home with us felt like lemonade on a sunny day. The long drive and weekly visits were not always easy to come by, we were settling in, learning the do’s and don’ts of island living. Having to say goodbye until the next time was often heart wrenching as we would start to walk away and close the gate behind us. She would bark and whine watching us leave her again and again. Tears clouded my eyes, I wondered if the heartache we both felt was now worth it.
In 1985 we had no choice but to accept the quarantine period of 120 days. There are, however, much shorter periods and options now. If your pet is coming from a non-exempt country, like the United States, you still may be able to reduce the duration of commercial quarantine to a single day, if you have the time, energy and resources to meet all the requirements. You should also consider whether your pet can adapt to Guam’s hot, tropical climate throughout the year. Summer months, May-August, are the hottest and pets should never be left without adequate water, food, and shade.
Paperwork & permits
To start, we had to get the necessary documents, shots, permits and drugs in order (coming from California via Hawaii with a layover, we opted to give our dog a relaxer). Read the Department of Agriculture’s 2014 Quarantine Brochure for the latest requirements. There are four programs and all dogs and cats, regardless of purpose or health status, are required to comply with Guam’s quarantine law, and all must obtain a valid Entry Permit prior to travel.
Pre-arrival steps common to all pets
- Application for entry permit
- Affidavit for export
- Quarantine reservation
- Health certificate
All dogs and cats attempting to qualify for something other than the full 120-day commercial quarantine program are required to have an implanted electronic microchip.
Animals requiring quarantine on Guam must attach evidence of confirmed reservations at a government approved quarantine facility with the Entry Permit packet. Even animals from exempt areas must have a post-arrival health exam.
Bringing our dog to Guam was a challenge — one I don’t think I would make again. The flight, anxiety and separation were really tough for all of us. I now wonder if the frustration was worth it. The new guidelines make things better to be sure, but if you find that bringing your pet to Guam may be too taxing there are a number of alternatives to consider:
GAIN (Guam Animals In Need) – Pet adoption center
Feathers ‘n Fins – Retail pet store
Little Wangs – Retail pet store
Classified Ads – Listings for critters of all types
Craig’s List – Listings for pets on Guam
In closing, I would like to say I’m not biased in any way! Though the article discusses the forever lovable canine, I have been known to have in my domain pigs, chickens, snakes, monitor lizards, birds, fish, ducks, rabbits, hamsters, hermit crabs, dogs, cats and bees. And you thought deciding to quarantine was a tough call…
While this article addresses a few items to be considered, it is by no means complete. There are many issues to address and each family needs to consider what is best for them. Guam quarantine guidelines are subject to change, so contact the Department of Agriculture at (671) 300-7965/66 if you have questions. Download the 2014 Quarantine Brochure for the latest requirements.
See Andersen Air Force Base’s Pet Quarantine handbook at: www.andersen.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130403-135.pdf
What pet owners should know when moving off island
This may seem like a very daunting task but with a little research soon enough your boonie will be living abroad. Flying out of Guam is much easier than bringing them here so if you’ve already done that leg this will be a piece of cake!
Each airline has different requirements for traveling with pets. The following links will take you to the information pages of the two airlines that currently fly animals out of Guam.
-Guam Animals In Need
Guam Animals In Need (GAIN), Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals, and to the education of the public concerning matters pertaining to animals and their welfare.
You can visit the shelter between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., volunteers may arrive at 8 a.m. to help with the animals. We are located in Yigo, just north of the Yigo gym.
You can become a GAIN member with a $15 donation (via www.firstgiving.com/guamanimalsinneed) to help support the animals of Guam and you will receive a quarterly newsletter as well as a membership card with discounts to local retailers including Puppy Love Guam, Tropic Soap, Opus One, and ACT Watch Repair and Giftshop.
Tune into K-57 on Monday nights from 7p.m.-8p.m. for Friends In Need; GAIN’s talk radio show. We will be answering all your pet related questions.
Gain has a variety of volunteer opportunities. We are constantly in need of volunteers.
Volunteering is a great way to make a difference in the lives of the animals at the shelter. We welcome volunteers of all ages. In order to volunteer, a short waiver must be signed prior to volunteering. This form can be obtained in the office. If the volunteer is under 18 years of age, a parent must sign the waiver. If the volunteer is under 16, a parent must accompany the volunteer at all times.
For more information on GAIN, visit: www.guamanimals.org or www.facebook.com/guamanimals
Frequently fielded pet owner questions
Q: How do I drop off an animal if you’re closed?
A: We try to encourage people to drop off animals during our hours of operation so we can get as much info about the animal. However, we do have an after-hours drop box in front of our gate.
Q: What do I have to do to adopt?
A: Anyone interested in adopting a shelter animal needs to fill out an adoption application form. This is like a match-making process because GAIN tries to ensure that potential adopters are a good match for the animal they want to adopt. Every application is handled on a case-by-case basis and can take up to 48 hours to process.
Q: How much does it cost to adopt?
A: The adoption fee at the shelter is $60 regardless of the size, age or type of animal. This includes the initial vaccines, microchip and deworming. Animals must also be spayed or neutered before going to their new homes. The fee for the surgery depends on which participating veterinarian you choose, but they provide a special price for GAIN, which varies between $45 and $85. Additional fees may apply for more complicated surgeries. Please remember that this initial expense is only the beginning. You must also consider food; regular medical care; flea, tick and heartworm preventives; training; grooming; etc. A rough estimate for a new puppy can cost upward of $1,000 for the first year.
Q: What if I don’t want to spay or neuter my animal?
A: This is not an option for animals being adopted at the shelter. The reason we have so many homeless animals at GAIN is because there are way too many accidental, unwanted litters. Spaying and neutering our animals is the way we can be part of the solution and not perpetuate the cycle.
Q: I want to donate something to GAIN. What do you need at the shelter?
A: The top three things we ALWAYS need are:
- 1. Bleach
- 2. Dry Puppy Food
- 3. Canned Kitten Food
But we welcome almost any donation. Our wish list also includes dry dog food, large black plastic bags, dish soap, large dog toys, kitchen trash bags, dog leashes, deck brooms and other cleaning supplies.
Q: What do I do if I witness animal abuse or neglect?
A: Animal abuse is a crime punishable by law and must be reported to the authorities. You can call the Guam Police Department at 472-8911/2 or Animal Control at 300-7965/6. If no one helps you, please call us and we will do our best to assist.
Q: What do I do if I find a stray animal?
A: You can call Animal Control at 300-7965/6 to pick up the animal and it will be brought to GAIN. You can also call your mayor’s office. Both offices are only available on weekdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Guam Animals In Need (GAIN)
Where Guam's stray, unwanted pets come from
Andersen clinic helps ship furry friends stateside
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE – More than 300 service members and their families visit the Andersen Veterinary Treatment Facility each year to prepare their pets for trips across the ocean during permanent change of station moves.
Many base organizations specialize in accomplishing the large number of PCS-related tasks prior to moving such as household goods, medical clearances, and personnel records but many movers have questions when it comes to the process of shipping the family pet, said the base veterinarian.
“Traveling with a pet can be complicated depending on where a person is going,” said Capt. Angelina Gerardo, Public Health Command Region-Pacific Andersen Veterinary Treatment Facility officer in charge. “Traveling back to the states can be fairly easy, but overseas locations such as Japan and Europe have different requirements. It is best to let us know your destination as soon as possible so we have adequate time to ensure the pet meets the requirements to travel and can schedule any necessary vaccinations.”
In order to travel, a pet needs to be up to date on its shots and have a valid health certificate issued 10 days before travel. This certificate must be presented to the final destination’s local department of agriculture upon arrival.
“The pet will need a rabies vaccination certificate, an acclimation certificate, and a health certificate,” Gerardo said.
All paperwork will be presented to the owner at the appointment they schedule within that 10-day window before travel, including cases where pets are vaccinated for rabies off base.
There are possibilities of additional requirements depending on the desired destination, and the clinic also recommends crate training pets before traveling with them.
“Pets are required to travel in a (crate), so the process runs much smoother if the pet has already been acclimated to spending a certain amount of time in a (crate),” said Army Sgt. Guang Song, PHCD-WESPAC animal care specialist. “The key is to make the pet feel at home and comfortable in the (crate) rather than make them feel as though they are being punished. Successfully completing this makes the move less stressful for the pet and the owner.”
Proper planning and regular vet visits can help keep service members informed on the needs of their pets and the specific requirements they will have to meet during their PCS. It is often advised to contact the airline in advance for kennel requirements and pet shipping prices.
Call the Andersen Veterinary Treatment Clinic at 366-3205 for more information or to make an appointment.
Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham, 36th Wing Public Affairs