Will chili vests thwart wolf attacks on Finland’s pet dogs?

Jussi Aro and his dog Minka try out a ‘chili vest’ prototype. (Pertti Huotari / Yle)
Jussi Aro and his dog Minka try out a ‘chili vest’ prototype. (Pertti Huotari / Yle)
A new safety vest has been developed to save family pets from wolf attacks in Finland. So far, this year 32 dogs have been attacked by wolves near the eastern border.

Residents of the eastern town of Nurmes in Finland will be testing out a new invention designed to keep their pets safe next spring: A safety vest for dogs that contains chili cartridges.

If a wolf attacks a dog wearing the vest and punctures the fabric, the cartridges release chili powder that sprays on the wolf’s face and mouth.

Prototypes of the product were available already in 2014, but the actual vests will be trailed for the first time in Finland in the spring of 2017. People who have agreed to participate in the testing have been asked to keep a list of the pros and cons of the invention.

Locals frightened
What would a merged environment ministry mean for Finland? (iStock)
A grey wolf prowling a forest in Finland. (iStock)

Mäntyharju resident Jussi Aro has developed the protective vests for a decade already.

“It’s my own one-man war,” he laughs.

Wolves in the wild have injured 32 dogs along the eastern Finland-Russia border so far in 2016, and residents of the area are frightened to allow their pets and children to move out of doors.

The dog safety vest will be tested in the town of Nurmes because observers have recorded a lot of wolf movement in the area.

Local police suspect that a wolf was illegally killed in Nurmes in late November.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: More Grizzlies and wolves moving north to High Arctic, Radio Canada International

Finland: Dog owners warned as wolves roam towns in east Finland, Yle News

Norway: Pet passports needed between Sweden and Norway, Radio Sweden

Russia:  Are wolves from illegal Russian kennel in Finland?, Yle News

Sweden: Wolves attack sheep and lambs in North Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: New rules proposed for Alaska predator hunting, Alaska Public Radio Network

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