Saturday, 14 May 2011
...and a fox
This week, disaster struck in my daughter's household. In broad daylight, and in full view of the house (and one terrified child), an urban fox knocked over the guinea pig cage and killed the guineas pigs.
My daughter and the children are all traumatised, and everyone feels guilty about something, from why did they put the run out in the garden? (they've been doing this every fine day for two years) to (the children) why weren't they better carers? why weren't they more assiduous in cleaning/feeding etc (atually, they were pretty good, and those guinea pigs were very well cared-for, but death always makes people feel guilty).
This has brought to (my) mind two things. Firstly, it was the children's first experience of bereavement, and they are going through that "I shall never, ever see my guinea pig again" thing. I think everyone remembers their first (mine was my pet rabbit Susie, unceremoniously carted off by the neighbours' cat). So it is particularly traumatic for them.
Secondly, there's the problem of urban foxes. These foxes are a dreadful nuisance. They have no predators, they are mangy and flea-ridden, and they create mayhem in city gardens. They leave their faeces all over the place, they take pets and chickens, and there have been reports of them attacking babies. It is virtually impossible to keep them out of city gardens, and they are fearless. I know of someone who saw one coming out of her bedroom carrying one of her shoes!
And yet we tend to be sentimental about them. While we are accept that rats should be poisoned (a horrible, painful death), the killing of foxes is prohibited. Foxes, apparently, are not vermin, and thus are protected. Those affected by their presence must simply put up with them.
Maybe if the worst happens, and a child suffers serious harm, the law will change.
But then, of course , it will be too late.