狗拿耗子除害發揮本能

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 1, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

【聯合報/By COREY KILGANNON/陳世欽譯】

Dogs Follow Instincts on Hunt for Rats

It was well after nightfall. The pack of dogs was split into two groups and led to opposite ends of a desolate alley in downtown Manhattan. A man collecting recyclable cans from the trash slipped out just before the owners unleashed the dogs.

The rat hunt was on.

The dogs raced toward a pile of trash bags in the alley, with the smaller dogs combing through the bags and chasing rats out toward the larger dogs.

Ernie, a 3-year-old hunt terrier, snapped up a fleeing rat in his jaws and gave him a hard shake. The rat quickly went limp. Ernie’s owner rejoiced over the kill — it was Ernie’s first, after just a few outings of hunting vermin.

This was another occasional outing for a group of dog owners who take their pets to downtown Manhattan to kill rats.

The hunt is conducted something like a country fox hunt, but in an urban setting. Members say it allows their dogs — mostly breeds known for chasing small game and vermin — to indulge in basic instinctual drives by killing a dozen or two dozen rats each time they are let loose.

“We don’t make a huge difference in the rat population, but the dogs have a lot of fun,” said Richard Reynolds, a main organizer of the group . The group has been meeting for 15 years, mostly in downtown Manhattan in areas where trash is abundant.

“We love garbage — if there’s food around, there are rats,” said Mr. Reynolds, a dog breeder from nearby in New Jersey.

Just before the recent alley hunt, the group had met in City Hall Park, with the energetic little dogs straining their leashes toward the bushes and assuming pointing positions. A local resident who was walking his 12-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Chloe, stopped to chat, and was incredulous when told what the group was doing: using their dogs to find, catch and kill rats in the streets.

“You guys can do that?” asked Chloe’s owner, Andrew Luan, 42. “I mean, you won’t get tickets, the city’s O.K. with that?”

In fact, it would appear that the rat hunters are not violating any laws or health codes.

“The city loves us,” claimed Mr. Reynolds, casting his group as a free extermination force.

Ernie’s owner, who said she was a veterinarian from Manhattan on her third hunt, asked that her name not be published because “it wouldn’t go over well with some of my clients.”

“Once he got a taste for it, he has not stopped looking” for rats, she said, adding the hunt “provides mental stimulation” for the dogs.

Hunting rats does pose risks, since they are known to carry diseases, including leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that often affects animals .

Mr. Reynolds said there had been a few lacerations to the dogs from rat bites and other mishaps, but nothing serious. Still, he said, he carries “a traveling field hospital” in his truck, just in case.

The group sometimes gets tips from homeless people or police officers, Mr. Reynolds said.

Still, not everyone supports the rat hunts. Brian Shapiro, the New York State director for the Humane Society of the United States, said there were numerous cases of dogs biting rats and ingesting poison consumed by the rat.

Mr. Reynolds argued that no harm had ever come to any of the dogs, adding that rat poison causes a slow, painful death, compared with a quick death in a dog’s jaws.

Jimmy Hoffman, 37, a veterinary technician who owns a 3-year-old Patterdale terrier named Mighty, said he was not insensitive to the plight of the rat; in fact, he treats pet rats in his work in Queens.

“I got no prejudices, but hunting is hunting,” he said.

中譯

夜幕早已低垂。飼主把這群狗分成兩組,帶往曼哈坦鬧區一條暗巷的兩端。主人放狗之前,一名在垃圾堆中撿拾回收瓶罐的男子及時閃開。

獵鼠行動隨之展開。

這些狗疾速衝向巷內的一堆垃圾袋,體型較小的在袋間搜尋,把老鼠往大狗那兒趕。

三歲大的梗犬厄尼咬住一隻逃竄不及的老鼠,使勁搖了幾下。老鼠很快就跛了。厄尼的主人非常高興;厄尼跟主人外出獵捕了幾回,這是首次有斬獲。

這些狗主人不定期帶著他們的愛犬一起到曼哈坦鬧區抓老鼠。這是他們又一次的行動。

這種活動類似鄉村地區的圍獵狐狸,只是地點在城市。共同參與的狗主人說,這使他們的愛犬(大多是擅長獵殺小型獵物及有害動物的品種)得以在他們每次放開牠們時,抓10幾或20幾隻老鼠,盡情發揮基本的本能。

這些狗主人的主要召集人之一雷諾斯說:「我們不可能使老鼠的數量大量減少,狗兒卻樂在其中。」這些飼主已經聚會15年,地點以垃圾很多的曼哈坦鬧區為主。

雷諾斯是住在新澤西州的育犬業者。他說:「我們喜歡垃圾。有食物的地方,一定有老鼠。」

在最近帶著愛犬前往曼哈坦暗巷抓老鼠之前,這些養狗人曾在紐約市政廳公園集合,他們精力充沛的小型獵犬拉緊狗繩,步步走向灌木區的目標,蓄勢待發。一名當地人帶著他的12歲傑克羅素梗犬蔻伊蹓躂,停下來與他們閒聊,得知他們正帶著愛犬在街上搜尋、捕捉並殺死老鼠時,簡直不敢相信。

蔻伊的42歲主人魯恩說:「你們能這麼做嗎?我是說,你們不會吃罰單,市政府不反對嗎?」

事實上,這些狗主人似乎並未違反任何法律或衛生規定。

雷諾斯說:「這個城市喜歡我們。」他又說,他們是免費的捕鼠隊。

厄尼的主人說,她是住在曼哈坦的獸醫,這是她第三次帶著牠一起抓老鼠。她要求匿名,因為「我的一些客人很可能無法認同這種事」。

她說:「牠產生興趣後,就再也停不下來。」她又說,抓老鼠為這些狗「提供精神上的激勵」。

抓老鼠的確會有風險,因為老鼠帶有多種疾病,包括常會影響動物的傳染性細螺旋體病。

雷諾斯說,曾經有幾回狗因為老鼠反咬與其他意外而受傷,所幸都不嚴重。不過他說,他每次都會在卡車上帶著「活動野戰醫院」同行,以備不時之需。

雷諾斯說,街頭遊民或員警有時候會向他們提供消息。

然而並不是人人都贊成抓老鼠。「美國人道協會」的紐約州主管夏普洛表示,在一些實例中,狗狗咬到老鼠後,會攝入老鼠體內的毒素。

雷諾斯辯稱,他們的狗從未受到傷害。他又說,老鼠吞下毒藥後死得緩慢而且痛苦,在狗嘴裡被咬死反倒來得痛快。

37歲的獸醫技術員霍夫曼養了一隻名為麥迪的三歲帕特戴爾梗犬。他說,他不可能對老鼠的不幸毫無感覺。事實上,他在他的皇后區工作室診治寵物鼠。

他說:「我沒有偏見。然而獵殺就是獵殺。」

【2013-12-17/聯合報】

Article source: http://mag.udn.com/mag/edu/storypage.jsp?f_ART_ID=490644

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