Changes to dog regulations on the way

The day after receiving cremated dog ashes, the Agriculture Ministry announces new ‘dog pack’

Looks like the dead dog worked. The day after a distraught dog owner sent the cremated remains of his dog to the food and agriculture minister, Mette Gjerskov (Socialdemokraterne), as a protest against the nation's dog laws, the Food and Agriculture Ministry sent out a press release announcing initiatives to change rules related to the ownership of dogs.


Gjerskov announced a 'dog pack' with four new initiatives, the first of which is to scrap the rule that allows the shooting of stray dogs. 


"I don't think it is a viable solution to allow citizens to shoot dogs that are roaming, but not harming other animals or people," Gjerskov said. "Therefore, this vigilantism should be removed from the legislation. Such cases should be handled by the police."


The second initiative relates to the management of aggressive dogs. Gjerskov said that the ban against particular breeds of dogs would be evaluated to see if any of the thirteen breeds currently banned should be removed from the list or if any new ones should be added. The list of banned breeds includes Put Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs, Kangals, and American Staffordshire Terriers, which was the breed owned by Lasse Bøgvad, the man who sent his dog's ashes. Owners of dogs on the banned list are required to muzzle their pets when in public. Bøgvad claims that wearing the muzzle destroyed the spirit of his dog, which led to his decision to put it down. 


"The dog laws have made many people uncomfortable," Gjerskov said. "I want to restore the public's peace of mind and take into consideration the dog's welfare, the rights of dog owners and also of those who fear dogs."


The final elements of Gjerskov's initiative are a "service check" of various dog-related regulations and an increased public information campaign to educate people on choosing a breed and being a responsible pet owner. 


A ministry spokeswoman told The Copenhagen Post that the law changes are expected to go into effect by the end of the year. She also denied that the announcement had anything to do with the special delivery received by the ministry on Wednesday.