by Bill Beck

We love to take our ferrets out for walks at least once a week. They really enjoy the experience, especially if it's one of their favourite places. These all seem to include tree roots (to get tangled in), soft soil (to get filthy by digging in) and water (to fall in).

So, there we were walking them in the Horticultural Gardens of Wythenshaw Park (no dogs, but ferrets allowed) when we came across a group of a dozen or so young offenders doing their community service. You know the sort of thing; all six feet six inches tall with acne and wearing baseball caps and hoodies and looking as if they bite the heads of Staffy bull terriers by way of a snack.

Well, their reactions to the ferrets were amazing. Some of them would clearly be more at ease in a swimming pool full of Great White sharks than near a ferret (now there's a thought!) They really did seem to be seriously alarmed at the idea that one might come near them. There was even more than the usual of the "They're vicious, them are!" and "if they bite yer, they never let go," type of remarks.

So this set me thinking: instead of police dogs, what about police ferrets? I can just imagine the scene...

"We know you're in there Wayne, come out now or we send in the ferrets!"

"NAH, NAH, anyfing but dat! I'm comin' aht!"

Just think of the advantages; no need for special dog handlers and vehicles, every police car could carry a couple of ferrets in a carrier on the back seat. And what about a Ferret Airborne Response Team (on second thoughts, might have to work on that name!) which could parachute ferrets directly into trouble spots from police helicopters? This could herald a whole new era in crime prevention and law enforcement. I wonder if the Chief Constable is in the phone book...

First Published in NFWS News #79 September 2007

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