Base pet regulations: Keep Fido, Kitty safe

20 Sep 2013 | Lance Cpl. Janelle Y. Chapman

Every Marine Corps installation has set regulations to follow when personnel decide to add a pet to the family. Knowing what they are can help animal lovers make the right decisions and ensure their furry friends stay safe and out of trouble.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii has unique rules because of Hawaii’s animal regulations. New pets must be registered with the base within two business days of the pet’s arrival to MCB Hawaii and all dogs and cats living on base must have an American Veterinary Identification Device microchip. All dogs over 4 months old must be registered with the city and county of Hawaii. This can be done at satellite city halls for a fee.

“Dogs must have distemper and rabies vaccinations,” said Laurel Rhodes, a veterinarian at the Veterinary Treatment Facility on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. “Cats must have FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleuopenia vaccine) and rabies vaccinations. Other vaccinations like feline leukemia and Bordetella vaccine for dogs are optional.”

Hawaii is known for being a rabies-free state, and with that comes many tests and paperwork that must be done when bringing a pet (any carnivorous animal) from the mainland over to Hawaii. This applies to any animal coming to the islands, not just coming to live on base.

“For animals coming from the mainland, they must have a minimum of two rabies vaccinations more than 30 days apart, and must remain in the states for 120 days for a quarantine period,” Rhodes said. “They also have to be cleared with the (OIE-FAVN) test. But if you don’t have enough time on the mainland, the pet can be brought on island and kept at the quarantine kennels for the remaining amount of time needed to fulfill the 120 days.”

Pets from the island can be taken back to the mainland for vacations but owners must complete a checklist.

“Pets can be taken home to the mainland for vacations and holidays,” Rhodes explains. “They just have to receive at least two rabies shots more than 30 days apart, get an Office International des Epizooties fluorescent antibody virus neutralization, or OIE-FAVN test, and stay on island for at least 14 days. After the pet is cleared, you are free to come and go from the island to the mainland for three years, as long as you keep your pet up to date on the rabies vaccinations.”

To get more in-depth information on bringing animals to and from the island visit

Hawaii is also a snake-free state. State law dictates snakes will not be kept as pets on or off base. The only reptiles allowed aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii or the island itself are those purchased commercially in Hawaii.

Game birds, pigeons, doves, poultry, Aztec Dwarf Parrots, monk parakeets or species listed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Endangered Species Act, and birds under the Hawaii Revised Statutes title 12, Hawaii Administrative Rules title 13 are banned from base. Gerbils, hamsters, mongooses, monkeys, rats, wild rabbits, pigs, horses and ponies, and other animals considered livestock are prohibited from being kept on base, as well. Iguanas are not to be kept on base, including Jackson chameleons. There is also a prohibition of beekeeping on base.

Service members are only allowed two mammal pets in base housing. Animals cannot be bred for commercial use and pets born on Marine Corps Base Hawaii must be reported to PMO.

Marine Corps installations do not allow pitbulls, rottweilers or wolf hybrids to reside on base. This doesn’t mean service members can’t own the pets if they live off base. As long as the state or city doesn’t have regulations barring the ownership of the animal, personnel may own any animal they please off base.

“Pitbulls and rottweilers are banned because of the statistics of dog bites,” Rhodes said. “They are considered the most dangerous (dogs).”

Service members and their families must always control their animals in a humane way and maintain control of their pets in their homes and in public. Dogs with past bite incidents must wear a muzzle when in public areas and all pets must be on a leash when off the owner’s property. Owners who fail to control their animal or treat them inhumanely may be evicted from base housing.

Pets are not allowed on base beaches between hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“Dogs need to be on a leash,” Rhodes said. “Dogs and cats also need to be registered with the state of Hawaii and with the game warden.”

Stray animals will be taken to the Provost Marshal’s Office Game Warden’s Office stray facility and scanned for microchips. The animals are held there for 24 hours before being sent to the Hawaiian Humane Society. Anyone trying to locate a lost pet is encouraged to call the Game Warden’s Office for information. There is no cost to retrieve a pet from the military police but there may be costs when retrieving one from the humane society.

Military police must be informed when a dog or cat has been given away or no longer resides in the registered owner’s home. When an animal is given to new owners, both the previous owner and the new owner must report to PMO to make the transfer. This ensures liability for the animal is solely that of the new owner.

The rules and regulations held upon all military installations around the world are set to keep their service members and families safe. Every base is different and research is recommended before the purchase of any domesticated animal. For more information on MCB Hawaii’s pet regulations, call the base’s Game Warden’s Office at 257-1821.

Each base has its own regulations so make sure to check them when looking to purchase an animal.

Marine Corps Base Hawaii