A squirrel was adopted by Decan Andersen and his family when it fell from a tree in their garden in the Copenhagen suburb of Værløse five years ago. The squirrel had open wounds and needed immediate nursing in order to survive.
Andersen has since become extremely attached to the animal, christened Tintin, that he now regards as a member of the family.
Tintin has featured in both American and Swedish media and is something of a star on social media, with 133,000 followers on Instagram and 46,000 subscribers on Youtube.
However, the authorities are now demanding that Tintin be set free and so leave his long-term owner, reports TV2 Nyheder.
A special permit needed
The environment protection agency Miljøstyrelsen has been in contact with Andersen and told him he needs a permit in order to keep a wild animal in his house.
A six month rehabilitation period is allowed but since Tintin has been living with Andersen and his family for five years, the authorities are starting to react.
In a letter to Andersen, the agency stated that “coercive measures” might be necessary.
Andersen is afraid that Tintin may be confiscated and even put down, and the agency has not been able to fully allay his fears.
“We are working on a solution, but I cannot say more as the case is on-going,” said Lasse Sehested Jensen from Miljøstyrelsen in an interview with TV2.
Tintin does not want to go back into nature
When Tintin’s wounds had healed Andersen did try to reintroduce him back to the wild but the squirrel kept coming back to the house.
However, it seems to have been the fact that the family put the squirrel on a lead when they go outside that has most upset the authorities.
“The lead gives Tintin security,” Andersen said. “When he doesn’t have a lead on, he refuses to go outside, and when I try to take it off him when we’re taking a walk, he runs back to our house,” he continued.
“Of course I understand that you can’t have a deer caged up in your house, but this is a very different situation. I have helped baby squirrels before Tintin and they were all comfortable being re-introduced to the wild but he does not want to,” Andersen says.