Heavy snow in the Oslo area has prompted hungry, tired wildlife like moose and deer to wander into more open trails, trailheads and populated areas in search of food. Many have then been chased and even attacked by dogs, with some dog owners reportedly viewing that as sport.
“There are some sick attitudes out there,” Tea Turtumøygard, a biologist and wildlife consultant for the City of Oslo, told newspaper Dagsavisen. She claimed that some hikers and skiers are defying mandatory leash laws and letting their dogs run free, a practice that’s resulted in what she calls animal cruelty when deer, for example, are weak after a long winter.
“Dogs will chase a deer until it’s exhausted, then bite it to death,” Turtumøygard said. She said she’s heard reports that some dog owners simply stand by and watch: “They think it’s fun, a sport.” Many of the dogs involved are expensive dogs like setters, which have hunting instincts and are often used for bird hunting.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported that ravaged cadavers of deer have been found in the valleys of Sørkedalen and Maridalen, and in the neighbourhoods of Huseby, Ullern and Ammerud. Dog owners who ignore extraordinary laws that require them to keep their dogs on a leash at all times during winter face fines and even jail terms of up to six months.