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Finnish police suspect man of animal welfare crimes after fatal dog transport from Russia

Police are opening a preliminary investigation and suspect the man who transported the dogs of aggravated animal welfare offences.

Seven of the dogs died during the journey across the Gulf of Finland, while three others were in such poor condition, a decision was made to euthanise them.  Image: Matias Väänänen / Yle

Helsinki Police have opened a preliminary investigation concerning suspicions that a 24-year-old man transported 32 dogs into the country under poor conditions.

The method of transport, a small lorry, caused the animals unnecessary pain and suffering, according to police.

On Saturday the Border Guard informed Helsinki Police that a vehicle containing a large number of dogs had arrived at a city port on a ferry from Tallinn. Police said they found 32 dogs in the vehicle, seven of which had died during the journey.

Detective Inspector Crista Granroth said that the suspect transported the dogs in a lorry that was not meant for the transportation of animals.

"The vehicle's air conditioning was inadequate and according to current information, the conditions were not suitable for transporting animals in any case," Granroth said in a statement.

Police suspect that the driver had taken the animals from an animal shelter in Moscow, Russia to Finland by way of Lithuania and Estonia. Police said they plan to examine the dogs' origins and the legal status of the animals' entry to Finland.

Three of the dogs were in such bad condition upon arrival that authorities deemed they needed to be euthanised.

Meanwhile, as of Monday, three other dogs were still being treated at Helsinki University's animal hospital, two of which in critical condition.