Sunday, 25 November 2012

Big Game Dog Fishing

Dogs are in trouble. Thanks to the motion pictures Paws, Paws II, Paws III, which feature a monster dog attacking the residents of sleepy seaside village Amity, these poor misunderstood creatures have been demonised and hunted to near extinction all for the sake of Dog-fin soup.

I'm sorry. Did I say dogs? I meant of course sharks....

...except. Let's think about this for a moment. Imagine doing the same to dogs as we do to sharks:

From the back of an enormous sports 4x4, a dog-fisherman casts a large hook baited with a hunk of meat somewhere in Hyde Park, one of London's largest parks (it is actually larger than the entire Principality of Monaco) and considered prime hunting ground for dogs. He doesn't really know where he is but the skipper says there are big dogs here and the money he is paying for that advice he knows he will be going home with some great photos of his magnificent, manly, heroic exploits.

Slowly motoring forward, heading towards the Serpentine, the driver takes his time as the dog-fisherman expertly works his troll line, hoping that this time it is not the plentiful labrador he catches - good eating but doesn't put up much of a fight - this time he is hoping for that prized catch, the rare Irish Wolfhound. (Editor's note - the previously most feared pit-bull type was hunted to extinction during the Lennox era.)

It doesn't take long till he feels the tell-tale tug on the line which tells him he has prey. The truck skipper appears by his shoulder - an experienced dog-hunter, he has been taking paying clients into Hyde Park ever since the cat-fishery collapsed and forced him to chase the mighty tourist dollar to continue funding his luxury lifestyle.

"Let him run," says the skipper. "Wait till you feel him slow down before you strike or you will miss him and they are wary beasts these big hounds, he might not give you a second chance."

"Now!" comes the shout and the dog-fisherman feels the hook bite deep, along with a renewed thrashing as the hound reacts in shock to the extreme, excruciating pain as the barbed hook penetrates the walls of his throat. Breathing becomes difficult, pain makes it difficult to think, his fight or flight instinct kicks in (just as it does in humans) and he chooses flight. Again the dog-fisherman lets him run, he needs him tired if he is to land him successfully. A fit dog is too much of a challenge, they always run for safety instead of just giving in and that would stop him getting the sort of pictures he wants for the boys down the pub.

Feeling the line go slack he knew the next few moments would be telling, would the beast go to ground or would he attempt to break free. "There!" shouts the skipper as about a quarter of a mile away the most magnificent, beautiful large animal breaks through the bushes and shows himself to the car-load of killers. (Errm, sorry, I meant manly heroes.) "Take in the slack, take in the slack!" And so the pattern continues for another hour until at last, the exhausted Irish Wolfhound is brought alongside the now mud-splattered 4x4.

The skipper reaches over the tailgate with a gaff hook, impales the now near-death dog through the shoulder and drags him onto the truck. He warns everyone to stay clear of the dog, it will probably take about 30 minutes to die and it will thrash around while it does so. "And look at those jaws - it can still bite by reflex!" Keeping people safe is good for business but it's also good to build the sense of danger because that is good for future business as more thrill-seekers part with cash for a similar experience.

By the time the 4x4 returns to the garage the still beautiful but very dead animal has stopped thrashing. At the business centre they have a tripod arrangement which lets them haul the body full stretch so that the successful hunter can have his photo taken with his kill. In seconds it is posted to facebook, twitter and pinterest. This one is special, it's a new record weight for an Irish Wolfhound caught in Hyde Park so all the tabloids want to run a feature whilst the BBC and Sky send mobile broadcast vans to capture it for the early evening news.

Police decide not to arrest the small handful of protestors from the Hyde Park Shepherd Conservation Society, they don't want martyrs in the press while the tourists are still parting with cash.

Dear reader, dog-hunting like this is not real but shark-hunting is. It needs to stop.

Thank you for reading.