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Denmark: Measures to Control Dangerous Dogs Introduced

(June 10, 2009) The opposition party in the Danish Parliament has been leading efforts to enact stricter controls on dangerous dogs. Now that the measures have support from the Social Democrats, the Socialist People's Party, and the Danish People's Party, it appears that a majority of the legislature is in favor of the changes. Karina Lorentzen Dehnhardt, a spokesperson for the Socialist People's Party, has said she hopes for passage of the relevant legislation this fall. (Parliament Push for Clampdown on Dangerous Dogs, COPENHAGEN POST, June 4, 2009, available at

At present, the law requires that dogs of certain breeds be kept on leashes when in public in cities of more than 15,000 people. This rule would be changed to require that all dogs be leashed in public. The measures would also compel owners to register all dogs when the animals reach eight weeks of age and would create a centralized database with information on any fines or court orders issued to those owners. Further, the restrictions on conditions for putting down dangerous dogs (generally defined as those who have attacked people or other animals) would be loosened. The political parties have suggested that the Justice Ministry develop a clear definition of “dangerous dogs” and that it investigate whether requiring special licenses for dog owners and dog muzzles can be added to the measures. (Id.)

According to the Danish Kennel Club, there are dog attacks on other animals or humans on average every two weeks, and there are more than 20,000 dangerous dogs in the country. (Id.)