The dog – Man’s best friend. Of course, many pet owners would say that is an understatement, as many of us view our pets as part of the family. So, what happens when the authorities come and take your dog, a dog that has done nothing wrong, and euthanize it? Did I mention the dog did nothing wrong? Never bit anyone, never had any history of aggression or violence. So what did the dog do that earned a death penalty? He was born a Pit Bull in a country with breed-specific laws that outlaw his existence.
Denmark’s Dog Act prohibits the keeping and breeding of 13 specified dog breeds, including crossbreeds involving the 13 specified dog breeds.
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Tosa Inu
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Fila Brasileiro
- Dogo Argentino
- American Bulldog
- Central Asian Shepherd Dog (ovtcharka)
- Caucasian Shepherd Dog (ovtcharka)
- South Russian Shepherd Dog (ovtcharka)
Dan (last name not disclosed) was the proud owner of Zanto, a beautiful Pit Bull Terrier, in violation of Danish law. Two weeks prior to the confiscation, Zanto had gotten out of the yard and was spotted by a “concerned citizen” who reported it to the police. This triggered an investigation into whether the dog was one of the banned breeds. According to the Facebook page, Foreningen Fair Dog Fan, an apolitical association working on behalf of all dogs and dog owners in Denmark;
“Zanto (the dog) was ripped out of Dan’s arms, (Zanto’s owner) because he looked like one of the now banned dog breeds, or mixture of both. Zanto had nothing done, he is a good, devoted and happy dog and has never done a fly mischief. The owner had 8 days to prove Zanto’s creator, but we all know that it is not a possible task.”
Dan was given 8 days to “prove” Zanto wasn’t one of the banned breeds, then Zanto was euthanized. Obviously Dan was devastated and reported took an overdose of pain medication. The story of Dan’s death made big news according to Foreningen Fair Dog Fan, but then the story was pulled from online sources leading to speculation that government officials were engaged in censorship to hide the consequences of their breed-specific legislation.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA),
There is no evidence that breed-specific laws—which are costly and difficult to enforce—make communities safer for people or companion animals. For example, Prince George’s County, MD, spends more than $250,000 annually to enforce its ban on Pit Bulls. In 2003, a study conducted by the county on the ban’s effectiveness noted that “public safety is not improved as a result of [the ban].
Breed-specific laws are all the rage in many parts of America as well. In my own personal experience while shopping for home-owners insurance I found that many insurance companies will not write a home-owners policy if you have a “large breed dog.” Not a specific large dog, but ANY dog classified as a “large breed.” Breed-specific laws, like much of what government does, are a one-size-fits-all approach that leave no room for discretion or individual consideration of specific circumstances. Often, as with Dan and Zanto, such a “zero tolerance” approach has drastic or even deadly unintended consequences.