Bringing Pets to Saipan
Along with the rest of the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii, Saipan is rabies-free. This status is protected by strict regulation of the importation of any warm blooded animal capable of being infected.
During typhoon Yutu, the quarantine facility on Saipan was destroyed, thus requiring all animals to be eligible for "immediate release". The requirements for this are determined by the CNMI state veterinarian, Dr. Ignacio DelaCruz. Fortunately, Dr. DelaCruz is an extremely helpful and approachable resource, and should be contacted as soon as a decision has been reached to move to Saipan. All plans should start with a contact with him outlining your plans and animals involved. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. His phone number is 670-285-8525. I will attach the Hawaii requirements which will give you some idea. Dr. DelaCruz does have the authority to mitigate some of the Hawaii rigidity, however.
Not all apartments will accept pets, and you should make your needs known early to our recruiter, Marylou Conner at Saipanrecruiter@gmail.com
All immediate release plans will need to start with proof of at least two rabies vaccinations and a rabies blood titer, or FAVN titer, done at a specific lab in Kansas City. The animal has to be "chipped" for identification prior to submitting the blood sample, which in turn takes at least a couple of weeks to be reported. So, the recommendation is to plan to get going on this very early on if your plans for Saipan include a pet.
Pre-travel health exams of the animal are required, and have a very narrow time limit prior to shipping the animal. To further stress matters, the exam may have to be certified by a specific US governmental veterinarian. This may well require sending documents by overnight courier and coordinating the exam date and time to assure the documents can be received back within the 10-day window.
Transportation of Pets
Small pets can be accepted for in-cabin transport, and should be booked at the time of ticket purchase. Transportation requirements for larger animals traveling as cargo vary from one airline to another, and are subject to change based on things like the temperature at the destination airport, length of a particular travel leg, and aircraft types among others. Most flights from the mainland are sufficiently long that one or more intermediate stops for kenneling and rest is either appropriate or demanded by the airline. As of this writing, many airlines placed a restriction on travel times for pets to 8 hrs or less, effectively making the Mainland-Hawaii-Guam-Saipan the only permissible routing. Pets coming as cargo require particular bonded kennels along the way due to intermediate quarantine regulations. Arranging this on your own can be difficult.
Commercial animal travel consultants such as All Pet Travel among others are experienced in all phases of this, and can eliminate a lot of stress for a fee. Our personal consultant was Debbie Rogers, and you are welcome to email her.
With the new United mainline service, United can continue to transport pets as cargo directly to Saipan, although they currently have a kennel size limit of 30 inches which would impact the travel of large dogs. Two alternatives exist; Star Marianas, (phone is (670) 287-9722), and Micronesian Air Cargo ( (670) 285-6627 or (670) 789-8759... ask for Nora.) It is also possible, although expensive, to arrange a charter from Guam to Saipan on this airline, assuring you and your pets travel together and you see them through the customs and quarantine process in Saipan. The cost differential between this and the usual flight drops if more than one person travels.
Animals shipped as cargo will have been in the Guam kennel, and the kennel can assist with moving through Guam. Check with Harper Valley Kennel ((671)477-8381) They are very good about pick up and drop off at the airport.
Dr. DelaCruz has some experience with other routes,and has indicated some possible issues with quarantine on Guam recently, but our experience with Harper Valley was good.