onsdag den 23. januar 2013

The story of Bogart, a victim of the law

It is not only the 13 banned breed who dies in vain
even when innocent, they pay the price
read the store of Bogart and the injustice

The story was written by the Fair Dog ambassador Kira Eggers
Here is her fanpage on FB http://www.facebook.com/clubkiraeggers?ref=ts&fref=ts
Translation by Michelle Otterstrøm Jensen

Here’s the story of Bogart, a Lhasa Apso, owned by Steen (aged 79) and his wife. Bogart lived
only 5 years and 2 months, before being euthanized by a vet. Read the story here, and see for
yourself how badly a case can turn out, when dogs and owners wind up in the long and tortuous
grip of the Law on Canines. Police overlooked an important detail in their quest for justice.

How long did you own Bogart?

Two years and 10 months. Bogart was close to 2 years of age, when we got him.
What happened, that fateful day?

It was April, last year (2011), and I was taking Bogart for his walk. At one point we stopped
up, waiting on a truck that was backing up. I made sure that Bogart stood close to me, his
leash measuring only about 50cm (1.5 ft.) from my hand to his collar. Suddenly a lady taps my
shoulder from behind, and as I turn, she tells me that Bogart bit her. She shows me the
bleeding bite mark on her leg, and I ask her if there is anything I can do to help her. She
declines my offer, and after a short conversation, she leaves. I had never seen the woman
On April 15th, 2011, the lady filed a report with the police. I was contacted by the police
on April 27th, where I was charged and brought in for questioning at the local police station.
I was not informed, at any point, that I might need witnesses or that I was able to appeal
the case.
The police did behavioral testing on Bogart, May 5th, 2011. I found the testing very unfair,
as it was done in a stressful environment. Bogart was tested in an unfamiliar setting, bound
to the fencing in the kennel, surrounded by strange smells and barking dogs. Taking those
aspects into consideration, I believe that the testing gives an incorrect picture of how
Bogart would react in a more familiar setting. Notification of the decision to euthanize came
on August 3rd, and I was told to bring him to a kennel forthwith. Bogart had been deemed a
vicious and dangerous dog in the 4 months that had passed since he bit the lady. If he were
that dangerous, how is it that he was not held back at the kennel from day 1?
Bogart was placed with the animal welfare kennels in Rødovre, by order of the police. I was
informed that Bogart would be euthanized at the soonest possible date, as charges were that of
a savage attack, a violation of the Law on Canines. Bogart was, therefore, euthanized on
August 10th. There is no possibility of opposing or appealing the Law on Canines, regardless
of whether or not the law has been broken.

What happened next?

On October 14th, 2011, the police sent me a fine and a bill for unspecified expenditures in
the amount of 7.210,74 DKK. I requested a deferral on payment and a specified bill of
expenditures. Someone outside the system told me that it is possible to appeal the fine, so I
did. I received a summons to appear in court in January, 2012.
Since I did not have a lawyer, I was recommended the Chairwoman of Fairdog, Charlotte. She
has been an invaluable help in arguing my case in court.
Do you think the lady would have reported the incident to the police, had she known the outcome?
If she had known the terrible consequences that such a report would cause, I don’t think she
would have. Furthermore, to my knowledge, Bogart has never bitten anyone before, and from my
point of view, a normal dog does not bite without motivation.
During the hearing, Charlotte asked the aggrieved if she used blood thinning medications, as
dog bites are rarely stitched due to the danger of infection. The answer was yes. The reason
she was stitched, was in order to stop the bleeding, as the medications had made her blood
thin and unable to coagulate. She had not experienced a savage bite attack (see definition at

What upset you most about this case?

I am most upset that a loving and social dog, Bogart, had to be euthanized. I urge ALL dog
owners to join to association Fairdog, and to actively work to abolish this horrible Law on
Canines. It has been the cause of many sleepless nights for me and my family, as well as
enormous amounts of psychological strain and the general degradation of our health. Apart
from that, it has cost us a lot of money.

Case to conclusion

The court in Glostrup acquitted Steen, and said that it was to be expected (natural behavior)
that a dog would bite if pushed or stepped on. They also concluded that Steen could have done
nothing to prevent a bite, since the lady had overlooked Bogart and gotten too close.
Bogart did bite. This was not an attack, but a bite, and yet the police have assessed it as a
vicious bite attack, due to the stitches that the injured party received. The reasons behind
the stitches, or the bite, were never called into question. The police did not investigate
why a doctor chose to stitch the wound, nor did the injured party offer the information that
she used blood thinning medications. Not until Charlotte from Fairdog raised the question,
did anyone consider that blood thinning medications played a role in this case.
Definition of a vicious bite attack, according to the law:
If the animal or person requires medical assistance (most cases do, due to insurance claims,
police reports, tetanus vaccines, injury or other). Vicious bite is defined by injuries
requiring stitches. Children are usually stitched in bite related injuries, while adults are
usually not stitched due to the danger of infection. A vicious bite attack is not defined by
a single bite, as this is defined as a warning. Dogs that bite viciously, bite more than

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