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New Law Makes it Illegal to Shoot Stray Dogs

13 June 2014

DENMARK - From 1 July 2014 it will be illegal to shoot stray dogs in Denmark. At the same time, a much-criticised rule - which has resulted in unnecessary destruction of dogs - will be amended, meaning owners could face fines if their pets display 'nuisance' behaviour.

This week the Danish Parliament, the Folketing, enacted a new dog law. Among other things, this means that it will be illegal to shoot stray dogs from 1 July.

However, the dog-owner risks a fine of up to DKK 2,000 (about 270 Euros) if his or her dog repeatedly noses around on other people’s property.

"There can be no doubt that dog-owners have a responsibility for their dogs and must ensure that the dogs do not stray and make people feel afraid," says the Danish Food Minister, Dan Jørgensen.

"But at the same time, having private people playing sheriff on their own land and shooting dogs that are running around is completely unacceptable."

The new dog law also implies changes to the paragraphs about savaging. Up to now it has been the job of the police to decide whether a dog had savaged a person or another animal and had to be killed for that reason. In future, dog-owners will have the right to an assessment by a dog behaviour expert.

"Dogs should obviously not bite humans or other animals, and it must be possible to impose sanctions if this happens," says Dan Jørgensen. "But situations where a dog is killed because it bit another dog while they were playing must never arise again."

The new law gives greater peace of mind to both Danish dog-owners and foreign tourists who take their dogs with them while holidaying in Denmark.

"All in all I have tried to listen to the many dog-owners who have been worried that their pet may one day be shot or put down in other ways because it has strayed from them or has a quarrel with another dog," says Dan Jørgensen.

All current cases are suspended so they can be handled according to the new rules that come into force on 1 July. This also applies to terminated cases where the dog has not yet been put down.

The current ban on 13 specified dog breeds is maintained without changes.

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