Monday, 19 April 2010

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit


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!”
Ah London!
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.

16 comments:

Preseli Mags said...

I'd have let the dog out. The trouble with such vermin though (squirrels included) is they look so cute, have excellent PR and the might of the legal system behind them too. Rotters.

notwavingbutironing said...

Oh, they're just rats with tails. After them, boy!

Tattie Weasle said...

Preseli Mags - I blame it on Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and the rest of the flopsy bunnies!

Tattie Weasle said...

notwavingbutironing - don't encourage me or I'll start looking up recipes for bunny burgers too....

Belgravia wife - sort of said...

Hi there - creatures are meant to be eaten by other creature or us - let him out ! I can't believe that happened in Battersea - what are dogs supposed to do ?

If he gets lucky I have a great bunny stew recipe ! x

Mud in the City said...

Those bunnies and cure lil squirrels have great PR. But they make even better pies....

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Rabbit stew is delicious .... mind you , when youngest was little , we had to call it chicken because she took her toy rabbit Florence everywhere with her .
Wild rabbit is even more delicious . But would whippet be willing to share ?

Lanny said...

Things are so out of whack. People only seem to begin to screw their heads back on the right way after they have come up against the problem personally.

I love Peter and his crew and many other stories where animals talk and walk around in clothes and fight for their lives against Mr. McGregor. But I still put things into perspective. I'm still very often a pretty justified Mrs. Mcgregor.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Crikey. I think I break the law every day with my cat who thinks he's a dog. Catches every rabbit in the county and puts it on the door step. In bits.
I'd let that dog out too... blooming rabbits eat all the good things and leave all the bad. Grrr.x

Dawn/LittleGreenFingers said...

My grandfather used to shoot rabbits out of his bedroom window first thing in the morning. My father, as a boy, slept in the room above. That's a hell of a way to wake up every day - especially when you are then dispatched to collect the carcasses for skinning.

This all sounds very 'life in the country' but they actually lived in the town.

Ah, happy days!

Lou said...

Gosh my cats are taking out the whole population....can I be imprisoned/fined for letting them out!!!
....mind you the police don't frequent our hillbilly hide-out much!

Apple Island Wife said...

Ha! Squirrels. Rats with tails. Anybody who thinks otherwise should live in a house where squirrels have gained access to the roof space and wake you up at 6am chewing through electric cables and moving bricks around. My cat was stalking one in the back garden once (I lived in Muswell Hill in a previous life)and I was interested to know what would happen. As soon as the squirrel saw the cat, it shot up the nearest tree and the cat pooped himself and raced back up the garden to the kitchen. Shame. I'd just heard a man on radio 4 talking about casseroling them and was looking forward to trying out a recipe....

Expat mum said...

We have bloody squirrels in downtown Chicago too believe it or not. They are not as quick as they look, or think they are, and are forever getting squashed by cars.

veryanniemary said...

Wait a minute - if they are on your property aren't they intruders? We had an intruder once (a human one) and Bruce Willis bit him. I was terrified the police would take Bruce Willis as a dangerous dog, but then I realized that here in the good ole South, I could have legally shot him(the intruder, not Bruce)!!! You could put a trampoline under the window - to save the occaisional whippet free faller..

veryanniemary said...

If you want a really gross solution - dog or better yet fox pee....sprinkle it regularly around your roses and the rabbits will keep clear because they will think a predator is near by. Belive it or not I can buy fox pee in our local store for just this purpose....

Tattie Weasle said...

Belgravia Wife - Totally agree (as long as no one is watching) however chanvce would be a fine thing if teh whippets ever let me get near them after they catch a rabbit....
Mud - ooh we are a blood thirsty lot! To be hnest I don't like rabbit but I did have squirrel burgers last year and they were really quite surprisingly palatable!
SmitoniusAndSonata - have had that problem. Tattie the eldest of my whippet pack came back from a walk with me and spotted a large bunny at the end of ther garden. She swooped down and killed it very efficnently. What I did not know was that my youngest Bog Boy was there as well and he'd been trying to get the rabbit to talk to him. All I heard was a little plaintive voice go; Wabbit! wabbit! Luckily I was able to say that the poor rabbit was very sick and that Tattie seeing this had sent it's soul to heaven. Bog Boy seems none the worse for this little episode...
Lanny - HI! I'm definitly in the McGregor camp!
Ladybird World Mother - least the cat leaves it n the door step unlike mine who once deposited catch in my bed; under the covers!!!
Dawn - your grandfather sounds fantastic but your poor Dad. I loathe skinning ...
Lopu - I think cats are exempt, why that should be I have no idea but if they are for those that do hunt do you think a pack of cats would do?
AppleIslandWife - oh that had me laughing poor cat!
Expat Mum - better a squished squirrel rather than a live one (unless of course it is a red one...)
Veryanniemary - good point though here in the UK we've yet to come round to shooting intruders, mores the pity, I really don't liek oiur current postman...though perhaps I could order fox pee over the internet and get him to deliver it.....

Go on you know you want to...

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