A dog scheduled for euthanasia was kidnapped and saved by a policeman in Denmark. Dog lovers are rallying behind Lars Bo Lomholt, a police officer accused of kidnapping a German Shepherd from a kennel the night before the dog was scheduled to be put down for biting another dog.
At first, police believed the theft was carried out by a man pretending to be a police officer. But now Lars, a 20 year veteran, faces criminal charges and dismissal from the the North Zealand police department.
Thor, a 7-year-old German Shepherd Dog, is owned by a woman named Jette. In September 2012 the dog and his owner Jette were out on a walk when a smaller dog jumped out behind them and scared Thor. Thor, who was on a leash, was startled and bit the dog once.
According to Jette, she and the owner of the smaller dog both apologized to each other over the incident and exchanged information. When the smaller dog was taken to the vet, the incident was reported to the police. Jette received a fine, which she paid, and she then assumed that the incident was resolved.
However, 10 weeks later, three police officers appeared at Jette's home and seized Thor. They said he had been ordered to be put to sleep because Thor had bitten the other dog and his behavior was deemed "unnatural".
Police spokesperson Thomas Kristensen told the Danish paper Elstra Bladet that they examined the facts of the case and that the vet had assessed that there were "several bite wounds and the injured dog received stitches several times".
But dog lovers and advocates disagree with police and said the actions overstep their authority and disregard animal behavior. According to the Copanhagen Post, Charlotte Andersen with the animal advocacy group Fair Dog said, "We are shocked that the police can decide whether a dog is to be put down or not. They are to evaluate what the natural behaviour of a dog is. They say that it was not natural that Thor bit the dog, but it was. It is not necessarily a grievous bite if the dog exhibits natural behaviour."
For his part, Lars said he took the dog from Hillerød Pet Boarding on "moral grounds". He told Danish television media that police can clash with their own morality when peaceful family dogs can be euthanized for trivial things. The dog's whereabouts are currently unknown, but Lars said that Thor is now in "good hands".
The case is now being internally investigated by police and Lars has been charged with misconduct and fraud and is likely lose his job over his actions. He said, "I know I did something crappy. But I had simply had enough."
Thor's case and the actions of Lars is causing a furor of political debate in the country over dog laws and police authority.
If you would like to support Lars, you can sign the official petition (it's in Danish, of course! Translation via comments below (thank you!):
"Sign this if you believe that Lars should NOT be punished for freeing German Sheppard, Thor! Fornavn = first name, Efternavn = Last name, By = town, Land = country Skal din underskrift være offentlig? Ja/Nej = Do you want your signature to be public? Yes/No Skriv under på denne underskiftindsamling = Comment under your signature.[Sign this partition] -Your email will never be visible, nor will it be shared with a third party-"