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Reception centres available for pets as well

Publication date 25.3.2022 16.28 | Published in English on 5.4.2022 at 8.20

People seeking asylum or temporary protection with their pets can stay at the Riihimäki reception centre. The pets will be provided with care according to the Finnish Food Authority’s veterinary care instructions.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 12,000 Ukrainian citizens have sought international protection in Finland. Some Ukrainians have arrived with their pets. The Finnish Food Authority reminds everyone that the possible health risks of Ukrainian pets should be recognised. The situation is new, since previously asylum seekers have not arrived with pets. Therefore, reception centres have never before had to prepare for incoming pets or the possible health risks arising from the situation.

Currently, some Ukrainian pets, such as cats and dogs, are staying at reception centres with their owners. Most Ukrainian pets in Finland are staying in private accommodation.

‘So far, accommodation for all cats and dogs has been organised separately. People are not separated from their pets. However, we cannot have pets in all reception centres due to allergies and some facilities being unsuitable, for example,’ says Director-General Jari Kähkönen.

Starting soon, the Finnish Immigration Service will place people with pets in the Riihimäki reception centre. The reception centre, administered by Kotokunta Oy, will open by 5 April 2022. 

‘Directing all pet owners to one reception centre is the most functional solution for people and pets alike,’ says Kähkönen.

Pets must be taken to a vet

Authorities are managing the reception of pets jointly. The Finnish Immigration Service, the Finnish Food Authority and the Finnish Customs are coming up with new procedures to handle the new situation. 

Reception centres are following the Finnish Food Authority’s instructions on quarantine and are instructing pet owners. In addition to a quarantine of at least 30 days, the reception centres provide pets with veterinary care, including the required vaccines.

‘Reception centres are working on finding out if the people in private accommodation have brought pets. They are also instructed to take their pets to a vet. It is very important that all pets are vaccinated,’ says Kähkönen.

All reception centres have medical staff who are responsible for the health security of the reception centres. 

Further information for the media:

  • Press release, 23 March 2022, only in Finnish: Maahanmuuttovirasto perustaa uusia vastaanottokeskuksia
  • Jari Kähkönen, Director-General, tel. +358 (0)295 433 037, email: firstname.lastname@migri.fi