More illegal animals slip past depleted inspection force

Keevin Minami
Keevin Minami

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – "It would help if we had more staff and more people." Those words came from state Department of Agriculture Land Vertebrate Specialist Keevin Minami as he stood next to a 9'3" boa constrictor in a glass cage at the state's Plant Quarantine Building.

The boa was caught Monday night by hunters who spotted it crossing a dirt road in Waiawa.

The boa is the latest illegal animal caught or confiscated that may have never reached Hawaii if the state had more inspectors guarding our ports and airports.

"It really has been a problem because we had to reduce our hours and inspections," Minami said.

Minami speculated the snake was probably a pet recently set free by its owner.

"Because it's not striking the glass or acting very violently right now it most likely was somebody's pet and it probably was recently released or they probably feed it recently too because he's not searching for any food," Minami added.

People who voluntarily surrender prohibited animals to the state are granted amnesty. But those who hide their animals, then get caught, may face prosecution.

The state encourages everyone keeping illegal animals as pets to turn them in no questions asked.

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