December 3, 2023

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AG gets national support to transport drug-detection dogs | Guam News

Tom Miller, attorney general of Iowa and president of the National Association of Attorneys General, has written to United Airlines in support of efforts to coordinate the transportation of drug-sniffing dogs to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 

“A few years ago, United Airlines suspended transportation of animals; however, the airline has a limited exception for the transportation of pets of military families between Hawaii and Guam. AG Miller, writing on behalf of NAAG, points out this exemption and asks United to allow the law enforcement drug-detection dogs to travel on the same flights as the military family pets under the same limited transportation exemption,” according to a release from the Office of the Attorney General of Guam.

Guam Attorney General Leevin Camacho and CNMI AG Edward Manibusan had earlier written to United stating that the company’s policy is negatively affecting efforts to tackle the “drug epidemic.”

United’s near total suspension of animal travel could also have consequences for onboarding a new chief medical examiner.

Guam has been without a chief medical examiner since 2019. Dr. Jeffrey S. Nine accepted an offer to take the post, with a salary of $310,000 plus benefits.

But Nine made it clear that the only barrier to ensuring his employment on Guam will be if his pets cannot travel with him, a joint letter from the attorneys general stated. 

Guam and the CNIM would suffer if the matter isn’t resolved, because the CNMI also intends to use the services of Guam’s intended medical examiner.

Guam resident who want to travel off island with their pets or are seeking off-island homes to adopt local stray animals have also felt the impact of the animal travel suspension.

Customs and Quarantine 

Earlier this year, Camacho’s office announced that it would supply the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency with $60,000 to bring in four additional drug detection dogs on chartered flights. Guam Customs had been experiencing difficulty securing contracts with drug detection training vendors due to restrictions on animal travel from the continental U.S. to Guam.

“As the chief law enforcement officers for our respective states and territories, we attorneys general know first-hand the important role that drug-detection dogs play in disrupting drug trafficking across the country,” Miller wrote to United on behalf of the NAAG Executive Committee, according to the OAG release.

The NAAG executive committee is made up of 12 attorneys general from across the U.S. and last year, Camacho became the first AG from Guam appointed to serve on the committee.

Camacho stated in the OAG release that he was proud to have garnered support from colleagues around the country to combat the importation of drugs into Guam.

“I hope this creates an opportunity for us to collaborate with United on finding solutions that will help improve public safety in Guam and the CNMI and support the critical work of our Customs officers,” Camacho stated in the OAG release.