The grieving owners of a dog shot and killed by their neighbour say they have been unable to work since the incident earlier this week. Bjarne Juul Hansen, a teacher, and his wife, Lotte Toft, a psychiatric nurse, are recuperating from their loss at home.
On Monday, the couple's neighbour, Johnny Pedersen, left the family a message stating, “I shot your dog. He is lying over here.” He then went to police in the central Zealand town of Holbæk himself and told them that he had shot and killed the ten-year old Labrador named Balder because the dog came onto his property.
Pedersen told Jyllands-Posten that he was only protecting his property.
"What I have done is protect my animals from a dog that was allowed to run free eight hours every day," he said. Pedersen said he had taken Balder back to his neighbors at least 20 times after finding him in the forest around his property.
Police are investigating, but Pedersen may not be guilty of any crime because he wrote the family a letter less than a year ago warning them that he would shoot Balder if the white labrador came onto his property again. When Hansen apparently forgot to lock a gate on Monday, Balder ran onto Pedersen’s property and Pedersen made good on his threat.
”This my fault,” Hansen told the tabloid B.T. “I forgot to lock the gate.”
Hansen said he hasn’t slept since his dog was killed.
The family has received an outpouring of support from friends, neighbors and strangers including flowers left on their doorstep and people offering to give them a new dog.
“A woman called and said her lab had just had puppies,” Toft told the tabloid Ekstra Bladet. “But we don’t dare get a new dog as long as Johnny Pedersen lives there.”
Hansen said he would not even consider a new pet until he had built a fence with a double-locking gate around his property.
Since the incident, several politicians have gone on record as saying the law protecting those that shoot pets that wander onto their property should be changed.
Dennis Flydtkjær (Dansk Folkeparti) said in a statement that the current law resembled “a relic from the Wild West”.
“It is indefensible that property owners think they can walk around wielding firearms like cowboys," he said.