Sometimes a personal anecdote gives the clearest impression of what is wrong with government than all the generalized analysis in the world. This is true in this particular case.
We moved to Honolulu on Oct. 13, 2000, (if you ever want to test the strength of your superstitions try taking a long cross-ocean flight on Friday the 13th). We also brought our dog that had to go immediately into quarantine. Because of the timing of her rabies shot, our dog spent 7 weeks rather than the typical, required 6.
Not long after the law was changed and dogs no longer had to stay the full 6 weeks in quarantine if they had their rabies shot. Since this covered part of the year the Legislature decided to make the law retroactive and reimburse people who had to pay for quarantine during that period. As it turned out we fell in that window.
The full cost of the quarantine was some 700 plus dollars and we stood to have just under $200 of that returned. The law was passed in 2001 and it was nearly 2002 before we received the letter informing us of the reimbursement program. We filled out the form and sent it back. And heard nothing.
So after 3 or 4 months we called the quarantine office and tried to find out what the delay was. They had no record of our dog ever being there, could locate no records under our names and had no idea why. For months they searched and searched. All our records had vanished without a trace.
The next step was to go to the vet and get the microchip number (all dogs have to have a microchip before entering the Islands) and give this to the quarantine office so they could locate our files. We were told this was a sure fire way to locate our records since the microchip records are permanent. This was in the fall of 2003.
It is now 2006 and we still have yet to have any resolution of the issue. We call the quarantine office (we know the accountant by name) about once a week and nearly always get the answering machine and leave a phone message. We never get a call back. At this point it really isn