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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Judged Guilty, Severe Neglect of 55 Hovawarts and Goldens

The Hovawart puppy miller Torben Thorsøe was judged guilty of severe animal neglect according to the Danish Animal Welfare and Protection Act by the Danish district court in Næstved today.

He was sentenced to pay a fine of 25,000 danish kroner (3,700 USD / 3,300 Euro), a conditioned jail sentence of twenty days, and lost the right to breed commercialy with animals for the next 5 years.

He is allowed to keep the four adult dogs that currently live with him, as long as he doesn't breed with them. The litter of golden retrievers he also owns will be confiscated and handed over to "Dyrenes Beskyttelse" and will follow in the path of the other 55 rescued Hovawarts and Goldens from almost two years ago.

One might consider this to be a low punishment, which it is, but the current legislation doesn't allow for tougher penalties, as the judge also pointed out in her verdict, "one might wish harder penalties could be given in animal welfare cases like this." The puppy miller received the hardest punishment possible for severe animal neglect.

The Danish Minister Dan Jørgensen is well aware of the inability of the law for a meaningful sentencing, and last April he proposed tougher legislation. Too late for the "Haslev" dogs, as we have start to call them, but hopefully in time for the new puppy mill cases that are at this moment unfolding in Denmark.

"Dyrenes Beskyttelse" - the Danish SPCA - prepared an excellent case together with the prosecutors, and showed some photo material as evidence that was not shown before in public. The judge mentioned this in the verdict as well, "the pictures talked for themselves."

Still, although I am disappointed with the sentence, I am positive about at least some justice was rewarded to the dogs that have suffered from his actions, and it silences the puppy miller's supporters who always have claimed the whole episode to be a "bunch of lies".

For the future, I hope the sentence will repel the puppy miller and his associates from ever breeding dogs again. With that said, let's keep our guard up and keep our eyes open: any tips of new litters are welcome at kenzohw (at) gmail (dot) com.

(photo collage of the dogs rescued by "Dyrenes Beskyttelse" in 2013)

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1 comment

  1. Wonderful news. You have been closer to the front line than the majority of us, but I do remember the ups and downs of two years ago. It is only fitting that you now have one of the last hovawarts to come out of that place (and that I get to visit her now and again!). Well done on your tenacity and dedication. Yes, the penalty could have been greater - but it brings the subject of puppy mills to public attention once again, and that can only be a good thing. Thank you Leo.


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