May 31, 2012
German Tourist Faces Prison Time For Frozen Trout Joke Gone Wrong
By Chad Love
If you plan on traveling to Austria any time soon, I'd advise you to leave your fishing gear and your sense of humor at the border. One German tourist didn't, and now he's facing prison time for fake-catching a frozen trout he had previously bought in a store.
From this story on Huffingtonpost.com:
(Alexander) Donniger, 42, of Kiefersfelden, Germany, was on vacation in Kufstein, Austria, when he and his wife decided to play a prank on their 7-year-old twins, Enya and Arthur, by buying two frozen trout and taking them to a lake with the family. Unbeknownst to the kids, he tied the store-bought fish to the end of the poles and dangled them in the pond until they were thawed enough to appear freshly-caught, according to German website The Local.
However, Donniger's plans were sunk when a local spotted the family and called police, who arrested the couple for illegal fishing, according to the Austrian Independent. A police spokesman told the paper that the fact he was only catching a store-bought fish didn't matter. "Regardless of whether he had a frozen fish on the line or not it is illegal to have a rod in the water without a license," the official said.
Donninger apparently did have a fishing license, but didn't have permission to catch anything from that particular lake, even though the frozen fish he "caught" didn't actually come from the lake. And now, if he's convicted, Donninger could face six months in an Austrian prison, where prisoners are reportedly forced to watch "The Sound of Music" at least once every day for the duration of their incarceration.
Thoughts? I can see the point of the authorities, I guess. Technically I suppose he did break the law, but geez, doesn't six months in the calaboose for trying to make your kids laugh seem a little harsh? Couldn’t they just give him six lashes with a rubber chicken or something?