State lawmakers want to take a hard look at the Animal Quarantine Station in Halawa Valley.

Their interest comes on the heels of a petition drive by pet owners concerned with conditions there.

The station takes in 200 to 400 animals a month. Quarantine rules are in place to protect against rabies.

The state Department of Agriculture runs the quarantine program. The state says the station looked after 14,339 animals last year.

Some animals can be released in a few days if they can be certified disease-free, but others will have to stay for the full 120-day quarantine period.

The station operates on fees it collects. Last year, the staff collected $3 million.

House Resolution 35 calls for an audit of the operations and procedures at the station, and lists a number of concerns including the condition of the facility and the sensitivity training of the staff.

“We have a dedicated staff, the caretaker staff for the cats and dogs that are housed here, most of who are quite experienced,” said Dr. Raquel Wong, acting manager of the station. “They do it with passion. They care for the animals here.”

The chairman of the state House Committee on Agriculture shared the concerns of pet owners with KHON2.

“They felt it was not up-kept for the safety and soundness of their quarantined animals,” said Rep. Clift Tsuji, D-Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea. “They felt some of the areas were antiquated.”

“Some of the kennels have been here for quite a number of years and although we will fix as needed, we’re looking at the overall facility,” Wong said.

The station’s owner did admit that there have been deaths in the past of animals under quarantine, but she claims in most of those cases, it was not the fault of the station.

“We will take all that come, but sometimes the owners are aware and sometimes they are not aware of pre-existing conditions,” Wong said.

Wong also said that the quarantine is critical to protect against the introduction of deer ticks, which are blamed on Lyme disease.

The hearing on HR35 will be held on Friday at 9:30 a.m. in conference room 312 at the State Capitol.