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A pack of dogs succeeded in catching and killing more than 700 huge rats after a pig farm became overrun with the rodents.
Pig farmers called in the pack of small Norfolk Terriers – known as the Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack – after the rats invaded, nibbling at food stock and posing a threat to livestock.
The dogs worked for approximately seven hours to collect the record haul, surprising even their owners with the largest ever haul of vermin terminated by the pack.
The Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack offer a free-of-charge pest control service in the South East, with the terriers trained to kill vermin. Ed Cook, 34, manages the service and said the pack are dedicated to promoting traditional hunting methods.
The remarkable haul of rats – some weighing nearly 1kg – occurred at a pig farm ‘crawling with rats’ near Eye, Suffolk, on January 12, with Ed saying it was ‘one of the biggest infestations [they] have ever seen’.
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.
Hunting rats is legal in the UK under the 2004 Hunting Act, with Ed arguing this method of pest control is more humane than killing them with poison.
He said that while the dogs kill the rats within a matter of seconds, poison can take up to 48 hours to work properly, causing a ‘slow and painful death’.
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.
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.
Ed runs the rat control service with a handful of other volunteers who travel around the region to clear farms of vermin. The terriers are managed by the group.
The owner described the hunt as ‘really rewarding’, adding: ‘[The rats] pose a serious risk to the spread of disease and loss of earnings because of the amount of food they eat.’
You can find out more about the service here.
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Suffolk and Norfolk rat pack/Facebook
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