By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The forensic pathologist who has accepted an offer to work on Guam and the CNMI might back out if he would not be able to bring his pets with him.
Guam Attorney General Leevin Camacho and CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan said the United Airlines' current animal transport restriction hampers the recruitment efforts "in an area of critical need" on Guam and the CNMI.
According to an earlier press release from OAG, Dr. Jeffrey Nine has accepted the $310,000 annual salary authorized by the Post Mortem Commission. He is tentatively scheduled to arrive in the summer.
“However, the newly recruited forensic pathologist has been clear that the only barrier to ensuring his employment will be if his pets are precluded from traveling to Guam. This would have significant adverse impacts in both Guam and the CNMI,” Camacho and Manibusan said in a letter to Scott Kirby, CEO of United.
United's PetSafe transport and shipping has been suspended since March 25, 2020. Service members who receive reassignment orders are exempted from the airline’s animal transport restriction and are permitted to fly their pets as checked baggage on United flights between Guam and Honolulu.
Camacho and Manibusan requested Kirby to provide some leeway for transporting animals under circumstances related to critical government services.
They noted that Guam and the CNMI have not been able to hire a chief medical examiner since the retirement of Dr. Aurelio Espinola in 2019 due to a shortage of forensic pathologists in the United States.
Besides the area of forensic pathology, Camacho and Manibusan said the drug interdiction programs on Guam and the CNMI have also encountered many challenges due to the airline’s restrictions on animal transport.
“Customs continues to make best efforts to tackle Guam’s drug epidemic but remains disadvantaged due to existing restrictions on animal transport,” the letter stated.
“Drug-sniffing dogs have been a necessary weapon in combating Guam and the CNMI's drug epidemics, as evidence strongly suggests that drugs are entering our communities via the mail.”
“ It is evident that two distinct, and yet, essential government services have been adversely impacted by the present animal transport restriction.”