From Iceland — Tourists Face Fines For Illegally Importing Dogs Into Iceland

Tourists Face Fines For Illegally Importing Dogs Into Iceland

Published April 12, 2024

Photo by
Art Bicnick/The Reykjavik Grapevine

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has filed three complaints with the police regarding tourists who illegally imported dogs into the country in the cabin of their respective airplanes, reports RÚV.

The import of the dogs was only discovered after MAST received a notification from the authorities at Keflavík Airport. The tourists had planned to check in for their flights and leave Iceland after a few days’ stay with their dogs.

According to Iceland’s laws on animal importation, it is illegal to bring animals and their genetic material into the country. This ban is in place to protect the animals already present in Iceland, as well as the public, from the risk of infectious diseases and parasites that could be introduced through animal imports. Exceptions can only be granted if strict conditions are met and with a special permit from MAST. Violating these provisions can result in fines.

A parasite detected

MAST did not allow the tourists to depart until their dogs had undergone health inspections and sample collection, at the owners’ expense. In one of the cases, a parasite was detected that had not previously been found in Iceland.

According to MAST’s information, the dog had not been in contact with other animals during its time in the country. Given the cold weather, the agency believes it is unlikely that any worms or eggs would have survived had the owner not properly cleaned up after the animal.

MAST views the illegal importation of animals as a serious matter, due to the strict rules in place to prevent the introduction of animal diseases to Iceland. The agency has therefore referred these cases to the police.

A recent amendment to the regulations on the importation of dogs and cats has banned the transport of these animals in the passenger compartments of aircraft. This change aims to close the loophole that has allowed passengers to smuggle pets into Iceland and through Keflavík Airport undetected.

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