Help Us to Help – Don’t Import a Dog Illegally


<p>Travelling abroad is fun and it is everyone’s duty to help animals. However, while abroad, if you see a dog in need of help, think twice before you decide to bring it home with you. Even a small and disarming animal may carry a fatal disease.</p>

The current animal disease situation is good in Finland and, therefore, it is safe to have pets. Dogs may socialize with other dogs in parks and play with children without fear of anyone falling seriously ill as a consequence.

Nevertheless, many diseases that pose a threat to the health of animals and humans but are not found in Finland, are fairly common immediately beyond the Finnish borders. Rabies and echinococcal disease are the most dangerous of these diseases. A dog may carry rabies and not display any of the symptoms for a long time. Further, echinoccal disease does not give any symptoms for the dog. Yet, an asymptomatic dog may spread the disease to other dogs or humans. This is why we need to make sure, already prior to the dog’s entry into Finland, that it is not a carrier of serious diseases. Other diseases that threaten the health of dogs include, for instance, canine distemper virus and canine parvovirus diarrhoea.

Therefore, to protect the health of humans and other animals, authorities have imposed regulations for the importation of dogs. Only by complying with these regulations can we ensure that the animal does not carry ”deadly home-coming gifts”.

If the import regulations have been neglected, the importation is illegal. Illegal importation is a criminal offence. An illegally imported animal will either be returned to its country of origin, put down or placed in a quarantine facility at the importer’s expense. None of these options is good for the animal’s well-being. Therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to the safety aspects already when planning the import of an animal.

Occasionally, an illegal importation of a dog is revealed, for example, when it is taken to a veterinarian. A vet cannot afterwards correct any importation obligations that have been neglected. To protect other dogs and animals, the vet is obliged to prevent any possible disease from spreading. As an illegally imported dog poses a serious infection risk both for the dog owner and other dogs, the only option is often to put the animal down.

Regrettably, the ”rescue story” often ends sadly in putting the dog down. It is not only a dismaying turn of events for the owner, but also for the vet.

Anyone who is importing a pet assumes a great responsibility to guarantee the safety of the imported animal, as well as that of other dogs and people who play with it in Finland. The importer must make sure that the animal and its documents fulfil the requirements that are set in legislation. The importer is always held liable for all expenses caused by the import. So, please help us to help by complying with the import regulations.

How can you help?

  • Tell people about this issue

  • Talk with those who are thinking of getting a dog, tell them about the import regulations and alternative domestic ways to help dogs

  • If you are thinking of buying a pet in Finland, check the origin of the animal

  • If you are thinking of buying an imported animal, make sure that it has been imported legally, in accordance with Evira’s instructions. It is not advisable to buy animals whose origin is unclear

  • If you suspect an illegal import, report the case to your municipal or provincial veterinarian

  • From the point of view of animal protection, it is better to help animals in their own home countries

An illegally imported dog may carry a dangerous disease:

Further information about import regulations on Evira’s website:

You can also phone or e-mail us with questions concerning the import requirements:

  • Our advice phone line answers questions about import and export regulations concerning pets to and from EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland:
    Mon-Wed at 9-11, tel. 029 530 0401
  • import from EU Member States:
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  • non-commercial import from non-EU Member States:
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  • commercial import from non-EU Member States:
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