You never know what’s going to happen in New York. Take the Ryders Alley Trencher-fed Society, for example. This group of dog owners thought it would be a good idea to exercise their dogs’ hunting instincts by organizing rat-hunting trips in local alleys.
“It’s about maintaining the breed type through actual work,” Richard Reynolds, a New Jersey-based business analyst and longtime dog breeder, told the Associated Press.
The people of R.A.T.S (that’s the society’s acronym, purely by chance) have been scouring grimy alleys for more than a decade, and their dogs have been cleaning up the city one dirty rat at a time. On a recent trip, Reynolds says the dogs nabbed 13 rats in half an hour.
The Associated Press documented a few nights on the hunt in alleys near City Hall. On hand were a variety of terriers, a Feist, and a Dachshund.
“Get ‘im! Go!” Serge Lozach yelled to his dog, Hudson, who rocketed after a rat. The pair have been to a few alley hunts. “I like watching him have fun.”
The dogs work together to rout out rats, with some sniffing them out and others chasing them down when they flee. If a rat is caught, the dog usually trots back to his owner, who deposits the winnings in a trash bin.
You might think: Isn’t this sort of savage? Some certainly think so; PETA spokesman Martin Mersereau calls it “a twisted blood sport masquerading as rodent control.”
Reynolds isn’t so sure about that, pointing to rat poison, which can cause an animal pain for a long periods.
“There are lots of worse things that people do to rats,” he says.
Others point to historical matters, namely, an “1851 examination of working-class life in London,” which describes rat-catchers using ferrets and terriers to clear the streets of rats. If you look at it that way, modern-day rat hunting is downright hip.
Watch a video of group in action:
Via the Associated Press