Happy Lunar New Year! It is the year of the Fire Monkey! Supposedly, fortune tellers say it is an ear of market volatility, so it is best to make contingency plans and not monkey around! However, enough punning, this post is about owning a monkey in Hawaii.
*Disclaimer: This post discusses general legal issues, but does not constitute legal advice in any respect. No reader should act or refrain from acting based on information contained herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Further, no tax advice is given in this post, and you are urged to seek a tax attorney, accountant, and/or tax professional to help you with your tax and accounting needs. Ryan K. Hew, Attorney At Law, LLLC expressly disclaims all liability in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this post.
Happy Lunar New Year!
I hope it shall be a prosperous one for you! To celebrate that this is the year of the Fire Monkey, I decided to do a fun post, as I am born in the year of the monkey (I am sure you can now guess my age, haha). So for this post, I thought a fun question to answer is one that that comes up and now and then among pet-loving friends: “Can I own a monkey, here in Hawaii?”
The answer is: yes, but not as an individual … and certainly not as a pet.
Hawaii Department of Agriculture and Importation of Animals
As you probably could guess this is a regulated area. So it is not as easy as in you can fly in any monkey you want, then take it home, especially given that Hawaii laws are aimed at preserving nature and preventing invasive species. Obviously, monkeys are non-native species to the island, so you are you going to have to import one and play by the rules. So none of that “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” shenanigans with the government agents.
To begin with, the importation of non-domestic animals is under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (DOA). See HRS 150A-6.2. Some animals are banned outright, while others are allowable by permit. Monkey importation is allowable by permit but has an extra step. That step being bonding.
I had to use this image for this post. It is a monkey in a suit at a desk with paperwork. I know what people think of attorneys. Further, I think it was apt for this post. Lastly, I paid licensing fees for the image and had to make use of it (don’t worry one post I will devote to licensing fees for you graphic designers, photographers, etc . . . however, enjoy and laugh!
Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 4-71 and Bonding
We turn to the Department of Agriculture’s Administrative Rules, in particular, Chapter 4-71, as the objective of these rules are to implement HRS Chapter 150A. See HAR 4-71-1. So what do the specific rules say about monkeys?
If we go to HAR 4-71-6.5, we see that we would need a permit, but more specifically we see in Section (a)(3) that certain animals need the securing of a bond, as specified in 4-71-7. Scurrying down to HAR 4-71-7(1) it indicates that an applicant (for the permit) shall secure the appropriate bond for:
Monkeys, apes, baboons, chimpanzees, gibbons, lemurs, pottos, wallabies, and any other animal that the board or chairperson may require to be bonded as a condition for importation or possession;
Bonding Procedure and Conditions for Bonding
So how do you get a bond, and are there specific requirements? Well, the Administrative Rules continue from 4-71-7 to 4-71-8, Bonding Procedure and 4-71-9, Conditions for Bonding. In these two sections, you will see much of the specifics you would need to fulfill to get a bond, which would go with the permit, which would, in turn, allow you to own a monkey.
Of course, even if you meet these requirements, and successfully import and own a monkey, you have to realize you have to comply with all the bond conditions. Failure to do so would mean the Department could seize it, as given their power under HAR 4-7-10. Interestingly enough, if your monkey were to escape it is your responsibility to recapture it, and you have a week to do so, or else the Department will use its resources to recapture. Additionally, they can sell, ship, donate, or destroy it. See HAR 4-71-10.
Are there Any Other Restrictions?
Yes, one of the biggest caveats to all this is that monkeys as a species are placed on the DOA’s List of Restricted Animals – For Private and Commercial Use.
What does “Private and Commercial Use” mean? In the case of the definition section of the Administrative Rules “Private Use” is for example, non-profit research, but is specifically not for “individual possession of an animal as a pet.” Further the restrictions makes clear that all members in the order of primates can only be brought into the state for primate sanctuaries or for research by universities or government agencies, exhibition in municipal zoos, etc … Also a primate sanctuary must maintain a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit federal tax-exempt status and have any permits or licenses required by federal state, or municipal law. Therefore, if you are intending to bring a monkey into the State of Hawaii it has to be with the purpose of this Private and Commercial Use, which in turn you can see means you will have to jump through additional regulatory procedures (i.e. setting up a non-profit corporation and gaining tax exemption status).
Clearly, “owning” a monkey in the State of Hawaii not a process of monkey see, monkey do like with dogs or cats, but a Department of Agriculture procedure of permitting and bonding and understanding that an individual cannot possess the monkey as a pet, but that the importation of them would be solely for Private and Commercial Use.
Mahalo for reading!