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21 Jan 2020
WARNING: DISTRESSING IMAGES. The dogs were supplied free of charge to the farmer by a group dedicated to promoting traditional hunting methods and has volunteers who take part for fun
A pack of dogs were able to catch and kill more than 700 huge rats in one day after a farm became overrun.
Pig farmers called in the pack after vermin invaded and began ruining at food stocks and posing a potential danger to their livestock.
The pack of small Norfolk Terriers worked for seven hours and collected the record haul - surprising even their owners.
It's the biggest haul of vermin ever terminated by the Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack, who offer a free-of-charge pest control service in the South East.
The remarkable haul of pesky pests, some weighing almost 1kg, were terminated by the dogs at a pig farm “crawling with rats” near Eye, Suffolk, on Sunday, January 12.
The terriers are trained to kill vermin and are managed by the rat group, who travel around the region to clear farms of unsightly vermin.
Ed Cook, 34, manages the service and said the Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack are dedicated to promoting traditional hunting methods.
Hunting rats is legal in the UK under the 2004 hunting act and Ed argues this method of pest control is more humane than killing with poison.
He said the dogs kill the rats within a matter of seconds and believes poison takes up to 48 hours to work properly, causing a “slow and painful death".
Mr Cook said: “This is what the dogs are bred for. It is in their DNA to hunt.
“We don’t really have to train them because it’s their instinct to catch and kill rats.
“All dogs will play fetch but these dogs will go to extreme lengths to catch the rats.
“Once they are given the exposure to the rats they chase them down automatically. It’s ingrained in their DNA.
“Some of these rats were almost as big as the dogs, it was incredible to watch.
“The dogs are incredibly brave and it’s remarkable how many rats they can catch, they just love it.
“When rats are poisoned it is a horrendous death and it can take up to 48 hours. It’s slow and painful.
“This method is traditional and brings working dogs into good use. At the longest it takes three or four seconds for the Terriers to make the kill.”
Mr Cook runs the dedicated rat control service with a handful of other volunteers who also take part for fun.
He said the group get an adrenaline rush from unleashing the dogs on the rat, all in the name of helping local farmers control problem vermin.
The Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack were called out to this particular pig farm last week because of a “huge rat problem”.
“They pose a serious risk to the spread of disease and loss of earnings because of the amount of food they eat.
“They are all breeders, too, so the numbers can increase dramatically and before you know it you could end up with thousands.
“It’s really rewarding to see the dogs at work and it’s an incomparable style of hunting.”
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