Swiss Search Dogs Rescue Efforts Delayed By Japanese Bureaucracy

Swiss Rescue Team Dog
A dog of a Swiss rescue team lies on the ground during a briefing before departing for Japan, at the Swiss Air Rescue base in Kloten, March 12, 2011.

They’re ready, willing and able to help. Yet due to strict Japanese rules on importing animals, the Swiss Canine Rescue team have found themselves being frustratingly delayed in getting to do the job they came for: finding survivors from Friday’s devastating earthquake.

Dressed in orange reflective jumpsuits, the 25-member Swiss search team, which includes nine highly trained search dogs, were the first canine rescue teams to arrive in Japan only to find their efforts stifled by Japan’s strict rules for dogs entering the country.

“There are many rules here. So it’s taking a long time,” a member of the Swiss team said Sunday moments after an aftershock rolled through the airport.

The group’s search dogs are trained to find living people, sometimes buried dozens of feet beneath debris.

Though made famous by training St. Bernards to search for lost people in the Alps, the breeds the Swiss rescuers took along to Japan included Retrievers, Australian Collies and Border Collies

“Our job is to look for living people,” a team member said.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are currently working with the Japanese to expedite approval of dog teams from Virginia and California now on their way to Japan to avoid similar bureaucratic snafus.

The 150 American rescuers and their 12 dogs trained to find survivors will arrive in Japan today.

By Elaine Furst For Dog Files

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Estela Solar
13 years ago

I’m not sure what is better. If Dogs arrive to Japan, radiation can kill them and their trainers, so I think it’s not a really responsible decision send these animals to that country right now. I’m really concerned about the accident, but we have to protect ourselves as much as animals, nature, and the environment around us.

13 years ago

I have never heard of anything so stupid……..with all the turmoil going on they are worrying about letting those dogs in , turn around guys and dogs go home where you will be safe…..


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