University of Hawaii photo
University of Hawaii photo

BY MICHELE VAN HESSEN – In an on-going battle against invasive species, Rep. Barbara Marumoto, (R-Kahala, Kaimuki), is glad that the brown tree snake dog detection program will be re-started.

HB 1943 is expected to pass on May 3.  The state budget bill, HB 2012, contains $162,540 to match federal funds for the dog-detector program.  The money will be used for one inspector/trainer and three inspector/dog handlers.

The dogs will also be used by the state Department of Agriculture to ferret out other invasive species in the incoming airline baggage area and in the small-package air cargo area.

The most chilling testimony in the House Agriculture Committee came from Ka Lei Eggs owner, Phyllis Shimabukuro Geisel, who went to Guam to look into the possibility of exporting Hawaii eggs there.

The poultry industry has been decimated by brown tree snakes in Guam.  A poultry farmer showed her two large freezer cases containing “thousands of brown tree snakes.”

HB 1943 was introduced by Rep. Clift Tsuji, Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, but the contents of Marumoto’s dog inspection bill was scooped into Tsuji’s bill.

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