There’s nothing quite like opening your front door, sucking in the sweet smell of the Autumn breeze, hearing the sound of children’s laughter as they leave school for the day – and then catching sight of a dead fox lying in your front lawn.
I confess that I screamed, like a little girl, at the sight.
“Is it dead?” my daft sister asked behind me.
I didn’t really want to look too closely, but as far as I could see, the poor creature had no eyeballs left in his sockets and has flies buzzing around his body. He did not look like he was curled up, enjoying an afternoon snooze.
And why the fuck had he chosen to die in my garden? Why couldn’t he have picked the miserable sod down the road?
I was left to debate who I should call in such circumstances. The RSPCA seemed pretty pointless seeing as they tend to rescue animals, not dispose of them.
“The Council,” suggested my neighbour, peering with disgust from behind her door. “That’s what we pay our taxes for, after all!”
And indeed we do.
I assumed it would be a straight forward call. How wrong was I?
The conversation went something like this:
“Hello, I’ve got a dead fox in my front garden. Please can you remove it?”
“Oh no. I’m afraid we can’t do that, you’ll have to do that yourself.”
“That’s right. We can’t remove anything on your property. You must bag it up and take it to your nearest vet for disposal.”
“But he’s dead! What can a vet do? Resurrect it?”
“I’m afraid that’s council policy!”
And you’re a fucking twat (although those words stayed firmly in my head)
So of course I called the nearest vet’s. By this time, I was quite irate, contemplating how best to place a slow rotting mammal into a bin bag. I was starting to feel sick.
The vet was disgusted. She almost exploded on the phone.
“I’m not taking your dead fox! What are the Council talking about? Where the hell would I put it? Ring them back and tell them to do their jobs and I’ll do mine, thank you very much!”
I was nearly crying by now. I never asked for this sodding fox to collapse in my garden. I began to wonder if I could make a water feature out of his rotting carcass.
I called the council again and told them what the vet had said.
“Ok,” said the same bloke quietly, so as not to be overheard by his colleagues. “If you drag it into the path, then call me back, we’ll come and collect it within twenty minutes.”
So I dragged the carcass out, to the shock and horror of the local kids nearby – who, ironically, were out trick-or-treating (my treat was probably the nastiest) – as they came across my dead and decaying fox in their path.
Why the hell is it preferable to have the animal in full public view? Why would it have been so hard for the lovely people in Environmental Health to have collected it from my grass (only two metres away?) These are questions only they, or possibly the wanky Councillors can answer.
I told my Dad this story today.
“Just be thankful it wasn’t some tramp rotting in your hedge,” he muttered. “They’d have suggested that you dig your own hole and sling him in…”