Friday, March 02, 2007

She could have eaten them...

A woman in Bradford was yesterday convicted of animal cruelty and prohibited from keeping animals for the rest of her life - full story here.

RSPCA officers who visited her home found 95 rabbits living in cages inside her garage, all of which had to be destroyed after living in squalid conditions and suffering from all sorts of bunny deseases.

In mitigation the woman stated in court that she had bought just two bunnies, four years previously and to her suprise they had bred and bred again, and then again, a lot more times, "the situation had got slightly out of control" she stated in evidence.

I have some sympathy for her for we have kept rabbits.

The first pair of bunnies that we gave a home to was when our first born could barely walk, we thought they would be a good pet experience for her and a contrast to the huge German Shepherd dog that we had at the time who was very interested in the two baby, male, bunnies that we brought home.

Within a few weeks we noticed that one of the male pair was starting to get fatter and one winters morning when I opened the cage I found four dead baby bunnies in the cage with the two original ones sat at the other end of the cage with a "don't look at us" expression on their faces.

I hoyed the dead babies on the compost heap and went to ring our local newspaper to inform them of the miracle of male bunny births but before I had found their number realised that perhaps we had been duped and just maybe one of the pair was in fact female, I rang the vetinary instead.

"Bring the male in" he said "and we'll neuter him"
Easier said than done I replied, how do I know which one is the male.
"Keep an eye on them and see which one washes the food bowl out when they've finished" he advised
"OK" I replied and put the phone down

I picked one bunny at random and took it to the vet the next morning, it was a 50/50 chance and I got it wrong so the next morning I took the other bunny to the vet and in consideration of £30 the vet chopped his man bits off.

Two weeks later I opened the cage to find four more dead babies and the two original bunnies sat up the other end of the cage, the male one staring with the anguished expression that he'd been wearing ever since his visit to the vets, "its not me this time" he assured "she's got a fancy man"

I rang the vets to ask if he'd chopped the right bits off and he advised that female bunnnies don't give birth to all of their babies all at the same time, especially in the winter, so stand by for more dead bunnies.

Four weeks later and we had twelve dead baby bunnies on the compost heap and our compost heap was voted the most popular one in the neighbourhood amongst the resident crow and seagull population - Suzanne was not amused as she thought I had buried them in a mass grave, I assured her that flinging them on a compost heap was both organic and true to natures ways - bunnies don't bury their dead in the wild.

I mentioned the problem of disposing of dead baby bunnies to a friend who was well versed in country lore and he requested that I ring him the next time I find more offspring and he'd collect them, season them slightly then fry them in a little butter and a sprinkle of basil, according to him you can eat new born bunnies whole as their bones are still soft, according to him they are delicious, he is not my friend anymore.

Twelve was where it stopped and I can't for the life of me remember when the original two died or what I did with their bodies but a few years later we bought another two, one of which had a problem with its front teeth.

You see bunny front teeth never stop growing and the only thing that prevents a bunny having eight foot long front teeth is the fact that the grind against each other when they eat, the teeth are supposed to wear down at the same rate as they are growing and my some miracle of god-inspired design this does actually happen in most bunnies, except the one that we bought.

Our bunny's bottom teeth were out of line with its top teeth so they both just kept on growing and after a few months our bunny looked stupid with teeth sticking out all over the place, we took him to the vets and for the consideration of £30 he took a pair of dog nail clippers and snapped off the bunnies teeth, a method of dental work that reminded me of our first dentist when we were kids, more of which later.

A month later the bunny's teeth had grown back to enormous proportions again so as I already possesed a pair of dog nail clippers I grasped the bunny firmly by the throat in the same way that the vet had done and snapped off his enormous teeth again.

This became a monthly job and of course the bunny never grew to enjoy the process but strangely enough I did, I knew I should have trained to be a dentist in a Steve Martin in "Little Shop of Horrors" stylee, until one day I grew a little too enthusiastic and accidently extracted one of the teeth, the bunny hated that even more than having his teeth snapped off and gave me a damn good scratching for my troubles.

Those two bunnies are buried in our garden now, underneath two headstones although a casual observer would believe them to be just two ordinary rocks. Thats the house that we have sold and will be moving out of in exactly one weeks time - I've got to drain the pond next week and remove my fish but I won't be exhuming the bunnies - thats a suprise for the new owners one day hence.

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