If your neighbour's cat or dog drives you nuts, you better shoot it now.
On July 1, it will be illegal to shoot dogs, cats and pet rabbits that enter your yard. The practise of shooting troublesome pets has been legal in Denmark up until now, but that all changed thanks to a dog named Balder.
In a high-profile incident in 2012, Johnny Pedersen shot his neighbours’ beloved 10-year-old Labrador Retriever in the mid-Zealand town of Bognæs. Pedersen claimed that the dog repeatedly entered his yard and that its owners ignored warnings that he would shoot Balder if they didn’t keep it out. In May 2012, Pedersen followed through on his threats and shot the dog dead. Balder’s owners were crushed.
“My children completely broke down,” Lone Toft, a mother of four, told Ekstra Bladet after the incident. “Balder has always been the centre of attention. It’s just terrible that he should die in this way.”
The subsequent media firestorm set off by Balder’s death led the then agriculture minister, Mette Gjerskov, to change a property that had been on the books unchanged since 1872.
“[The law] is from a time when dogs and cats were seen as beasts,” Gjerskov said in 2012. “Today dogs are like family members but they can also be aggressive at times , so we need to find a proper balance.”
Eventually the law was amended to ban the shooting of loose pets, but it still allows homeowners to scare unwanted four-legged guests off of their property. Pet owners whose furry friends annoy their neighbours can now be subject to a fine, but authorities have not determined how much they should pay.
The new law comes into effect on July 1, so if you been contemplating snuffing out little Fido next door, your window of opportunity is rapidly closing.