Damages caused by Dogs

The reindeer husbandry area is one of the most popular tourism and hunting areas in Finland. People, who own dogs, should be aware of the problems that arise when dogs and reindeer meet to prevent damages. With good cooperation, the northern nature will be a pleasant experience for all.

The best way to prohibit damages is to follow the legislation on keeping dogs on a leash. According to the Hunting Act 53 §, 1: A dog may not be kept unleashed on someone else’s land without the permission of the landowner or the holder of the hunting right. Between 1 March and 19 August, a dog shall be kept on a leash when outdoors or so that it may be immediately put on a leash. During hunting, the dog owner has always a strict responsibility of their dog.

A hunting dog and a reindeer

The damages and distractions dogs cause to reindeer and reindeer herding have increased during the past few years. The biggest problems have arisen when hunters use several unleashed dogs at the same time. Also other dogs cause damages to reindeer when they are not supervised. A dog that has damaged a reindeer cannot be let unleashed again in the reindeer husbandry area.

The dogs kill or damage reindeer when they maul them. They also chase them so that the reindeer get injured and have to be put down. Dogs may also cause reindeer to drown or get into a traffic accident when they chase them. Other typical damage is that dogs distract herding work when scattering a herd of reindeer. Most of the damages to reindeer happen when the herding work is at its height.

In general, the herding work starts after mid-September and continues to the end of the year. In some areas also during the spring. It is not recommended to hunt in areas where there is reindeer herding on process or reindeer have already been gathered to a fence. Gathering reindeer is a time consuming work and dogs can easily scatter them again. It is best to contact the local Chief of District to inquire about the herding work in the planned hunting area. Also Metsähallitus gives the contacts to the local Chief of Districts when selling hunting permissions. Some cooperatives are also using porotyot.fi –website to announce their herding work areas. However, in any case it is best to call the Chief of District.

According to the Reindeer Husbandry Act 42 § Reindeer must not be frightened. Compensation must be paid for any damage or inconvenience caused to the reindeer owner and the reindeer herding co-operative as a result of frightening.

The authority responsible for supervising compliance with the Hunting Act (290/62) and a reindeer owner and a reindeer shepherd may in the territory of their reindeer herding cooperative put down a stray dog that during the period when dogs must be kept on a leash is found chasing reindeer in their pasture or that at any other time is found mutilating a reindeer it has chased. However, the dog may not be put down if it is caught or if the damage can otherwise be prevented. The police must be notified immediately of a dog that has been caught or put down. (Reindeer Husbandry Act 42.2 §)

Most of the damages can be prevented through careful planning and good communications and cooperation with the local reindeer herding cooperative.

Contacts to the Chiefs of Districts


Information on herding work

www.porotyot.fi –site offers real-time information for hunters on the reindeer herding work in some reindeer herding cooperatives (in Finnish with map). For other cooperatives, call to the Chief of District.