with Horse and Hound

Hunting with Dogs in New York City

An unregistered pack of dogs is hunting in New York City according to Fox News.

The Ryders Alley Trencher-fed Society has been meeting weekly at promising fixtures throughout the city for about ten years. Recently they met near City Hall on a couple of nights to draw the nearby alleys with two Border Terriers, a Jack Russell Terrier cross, a wire-haired dachshund, a Patterdale Terrier, a cairn terrier, and a feist (a type bred in the American South that hunts squirrels).

As most foxhunters know, a trencher-fed pack is one where privately-owned dogs (or hounds) come together with their owners for a day’s (or night’s) hunting as a pack. This was common practice among foxhunters in the old South going back to Colonial times.

The Ryders Alley Trencher-fed Society’s quarry is rats, if you haven’t yet figured it out from their acronym. At their best, the dogs will work as a pack, each to a particular role. One will sniff out the quarry and speak; another will flush it out; and others will wait to catch it when it flees.

“Tally ho,” yelled one owner. After a bite, a shake, and a kill, the dog trots back with the rat in its mouth and relinquishes it to the owner. In one recent night, thirteen rats were accounted for inside of a half hour.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has expressed its outrage, but Richard Reynolds, a New Jersey businessman and un-titled Master of the group, argues that rats that consume poison die more slowly and painfully.

In the nineteenth century, ratcatchers worked the streets of London with terriers and ferrets. The attire worn by foxhunters during the informal foxhunting season has its roots in the garb worn by these vermin-control practitioners.

Read the complete article by the Associated Press in Fox News.

Posted May 1, 2013