After the housing of eight K9 working dogs at the Narcotics Enforcement Agency (NEA) compound in Ngesekes drew complaints from residents and the Belau National Museum (BNM), the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is moving the site of the dog facility elsewhere, but the training program is proceeding on schedule.
Director Aguon of the NEA said that an alternative site for the permanent kennel-facility to shelter these dogs is being looked at. The MOJ has said that the dogs may be temporarily transferred to a location near the Division of Customs in Malakal sometime within the next two months, depending on when the proper permits are obtained from Koror State and the Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB).
The working dogs were transferred from Camp Katuu to the NEA compound last month, but the presence of the dogs garnered protests from members of the community, who said that they were unaware of the project before the dogs arrived, and complained about the disturbances caused by the barking and smell. The placement was also contested by the BNM, who claimed that the land on which the kennel facility was to be placed is set aside for the museum and botanical gardens. According to the BNM, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the MOJ and BNM in 2017, agreeing that the site could be used by the MOJ for a temporary period of two years, which has already passed.
The Koror State Planning Commission claimed that the site on which the facility was to be placed is zoned “R-2”, which means that the area is reserved for “medium density housing that provide privacy and a medium amount of open space”, in addition to public-use buildings such as “libraries, parks, and public recreational facilities”. The Planning Commission said that it would be difficult to obtain the permits to build the working dog facility in the residential neighborhood, “in light of the public complaints and the plain language of the zoning laws”.
Once an alternative site is approved, the kennel facility is set to be built by the Civic Action Team. The facility, which will also be funded by the US Department of Defense, will house the dogs in kennels, and will include drains which link directly to the sewer system to allow for easy cleaning. The NEA, however, stated that the delay in the construction of the facility has not affected the training course. The course, which is projected to last ten to thirteen weeks, was set to begin this week, and is reportedly on schedule. The course involves a mixture of classroom learning and field work, and is designed to teach NEA law enforcement how to handle and care for the working dogs.
The eight working dogs have been funded by the US Department of Defense as part of a program to detect narcotics and explosives at Palau’s borders. The program will involve the training of NEA law enforcement to properly handle these working dogs by professional dog handlers from Bellum K9, LLC, a US-based protection dog supply company.

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