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Labrador Retriever puppy donated by the Federal Customs Service of Russia to start customs dog training at Helsinki Airport

Publication date 10.7.2019 14.46
Press release

Finnish Customs received a Labrador Retriever puppy donated by the Russian customs authorities in Vaalimaa on 10 July 2019. The puppy was donated to Customs in May to mark the 25th anniversary of the customs cooperation between Finland and Russia. The new customs dog cadet will be trained to search for narcotics and will be working at Helsinki Airport.

The puppy was donated to Finnish Customs in May to mark the 25th anniversary of the customs cooperation between Finland and Russia by the Deputy Director General of the Federal Customs Service, Mr Oleg Gubaydulin. The puppy, named Jutta, arrived in Finland from Russia via the Vaalimaa border crossing point on Wednesday, 10 July. Prior to arriving in Finland, Jutta underwent a veterinary border inspection where her microchip, vaccinations, documents and general condition were checked. The dog also had to be cleared through Customs for import, as the matter involved non-passenger import of an animal from a third country.

Jutta takes no orders in Finnish

Once the new customs dog trainee completes her basic training, she will work in passenger and goods traffic at Helsinki Airport. Finnish Customs has overall responsibility for Jutta’s training, and her handler will be customs officer Jussi Planting.

- Already after a few hours together, Jutta has turned out to be an energetic and active junior customs dog. She is very curious about her surroundings, and has not been too nervous about travelling from Russia to Finland, being inspected by the border veterinarian, or meeting strange new people. We do have a slight language barrier, as the dog has been spoken to only in Russian, says Jussi Planting.

As a brand-new dog handler, Jussi is about to embark on a new career in training Jutta to be a customs dog. Jussi has previously worked in goods and warehouse control, in customs crime prevention and, most recently, in the Customs Command Centre.

- As a dog handler, I am looking forward to learning new skills and creating new contacts with other enforcement authorities. The fact that my first customs dog is donated by the Russian customs authorities brings also an international dimension to my task, Jussi Planting summarises.

47 customs dogs and about 33 000 customs controls per year

Finnish Customs has 47 customs dogs working in various regions of Finland. The customs dogs are used as an aid in the control of prohibitions and restrictions regarding goods in road, air and sea traffic. Most customs dogs are trained to look for narcotics. In addition, some customs dogs are trained to search for cigarettes, snus and cash. Customs also has trained a dog that searches for firearms and explosives, as well as a food detector dog.

Each year, customs dogs carry out more than 30 000 searches, of which about 1 000 result in findings of prohibited or restricted goods.

- Customs dog activity consits of successful and visible operations by authorities in passenger and goods traffic that help protect society. We are developing the activity continuously also through international cooperation, says Mikko Grönberg, Director of Enforcement.

Customs dogs working at Airport Customs make the majority of findings but, on the other hand, the food detector dog that works on the Finland-Russia border has found more than 1 000 kg of foodstuffs of animal origin during the course of a single year. Customs dogs also uncover hundreds of thousands in cash each year.

Media release