The EBJ whippet has her nose to the glued to the office window and is being perfectly still; there are two fat rabbits at the end of the garden totally oblivious.
There is a strong temptation to quietly open the window motivated by sheer vanity. I have some of the oldest and most beautiful roses in the Village and they are under constant attack by rabbits.
Dilemma. Should I do it or should I consider other legal ways of sorting the problem?
If I let the dog out knowing there are rabbits at the bottom of the garden I am in fact hunting with dogs and that is illegal. If I let the dog out without looking out of the window and she chases the rabbits at the bottom of the garden I am not breaking the law. However, knowing that I am likely to have rabbits at the bottom of the garden and that not just one but all of my dogs chase them do I ever let the dogs out?
These are very serious considerations not least because my office can be found on the second floor of the house and if I was to open it the whippet would be silly enough o jump out and that no doubt would necessitate a trip to the vet.
I wonder how many people break the law in the country? I’m afraid I do a lot especially when it comes to hunting with dogs. I have no intention to but dogs are dogs and I do hate keeping them on leads all the time.
I’ll never forget taking Jack Russell Biggles for a walk in Battersea Park in London. I lived just 237 paces (my father counted them) from the Park and either myself or my sister would walk the dog there once in the morning and once in the evening during the week and several times over the weekend if we had not taken him visiting.
Biggs and I were strolling around. He doing dog things i.e. sniffing at every bush and tree and cocking his leg at every given opportunity (now just how do they know how much wee they will need when they have no idea how long the walk will be?).
I came across a woman sobbing beside a very forlorn-looking black greyhound. In London you tend to ignore this type of behaviour, pretend it is not happening and pass by; but this time I could not.
Me: Are you OK?
Her still sobbing: “I’ve just been attacked.”
Me: “What! Are you OK? Do you want me to get the police?”
Her: “No, no really it’s OK. It wasn’t that type of attack and they are the one’s who are going to get the police.”
Me: “I’m sorry?”
Her: “I was walking Sooty and he was having a lovely time but he chased a squirrel and the next thing I knew two women were shouting at me and saying I was cruel and I said I couldn’t help it that Sooty sometimes did chase squirrels and they told me he should know better and now they are getting the police!”
I stayed with the damsel and Biggs and Sooty had a great time chasing each other round and round. The Parks Police did come, looking very uncomfortable, and Sooty’s owner and I were told we needed to keep our dogs under control. The two accuser’s left and Mr Plod took both of us to headquarters where we were given tea and the dogs had the biscuits as he told us all about the terrible squirrel problem in Battersea Park.
Needless to say I saw Sooty and his owner in the Park many times after that gambolling free of lead and occasionally chasing squirrels. In all the years I had a dog in London –seven in fact – I never once saw any of them get caught!
So back to the problems of the countryside and hunting with dogs. I can’t prevent dogs doing dog things but the rabbits usually hear them coming and it is only occasionally that I have to deal with it. Nine times out of ten it’s one with myxomatosis. I carry a knife, which is usually not needed as my whippets are far too skilled.As for the ones at the bottom of the garden, well a sharp knock on the window sends them scurrying and despite my dog’s enthusiasm there has never been a healthy one yet caught.