But after that, you're on your own...
We spent a few days this past weekend at Gi-gi's. Gi-gi lives in her duplex, in what is now the expensive, old-school end of town. When *I* was growing up a half-block away, it was full of families and kids, lots of old people who'd raised their families there, and the like. Now it's gay couples and yuppies and others with *lots* of time to keep their landscaping and architectural-additions historically accurate. The hills behind her house are peppered with condos and apartments-with-views.
She has this neighbor, a corporate-lawyer type, who had a baby girl a couple weeks before I had Little Artist. Said girl is now also 5. She got rid of the husband a few years ago, and apparently hasn't said, "no" to her daughter since then.
Their backyard consists of:
2-3 large dogs penned into a small kennel area
3-4 cats running loose
2 chickens loose
2 pygmy goats, tethered to a pivot
2 rabbits, escaped*
Escaped apparently means, "we built them a ramp up to their hutch and propped the door open."
These 2 rabbits have spent all spring in and out of Gi-gi's small yard, eating and destroying every bit of garden produce they could manage. Peas, beans, her priest's cabbages, eggplant, tomato, rosebushes, cucumber, etc. She tried catching one once, and it tore the skin from the back of her right hand. Of course, she went and knocked on the lawyer's door bleeding like a stuck pig. You'd think a lawyer would be familiar with "liability" and would try to deal with these "escaped" neighborhood menaces.
Instead, she and her daughter went on vacation a couple weeks ago, leaving someone to come once each evening to feed their menagerie. Until Gi-gi met her one evening, the woman wasn't even aware there *were* rabbits there.
After months of these tales, I offered to bring the pellet pistol and deal with the issue, as I was coming to town anyway.
Gi-gi declined, with some nonsense about the rabbits' emotional reunion after she'd kept one of them penned in the backyard of the empty rental next door (the other next door).
Pshaw. She's come a long way from the farm, in many ways. *sigh*
I didn't bring the pistol, but I kept making comments about how I wouldn't expect anyone to tolerate a "pet" being such a nuisance. I have higher tolerance when it's someone's "livelihood," but even with that there's a line. Hubby and I completely understand that if our dog were to get into someone else's "livelihood" (whether their livestock, or even, yes, their garden), they'd be justified to shoot her if we didn't deal with the problem (and make restitution) immediately.
Well, my chicken-capturing experts went to work and did catch the larger of the two rabbits. Which I promptly took by the scruff of the neck, stuck in a bucket, covered with a milk crate (sound familiar?) and marched into the vacationing-neighbors backyard to replace the cretin in it's hutch. Which is much nicer than Hubby would have been. :) This is where I discovered the means of their "escape." We unclipped the door from it's permanent open-position, and locked it in.
The other rabbit wasn't so easy. It was smaller, and more skittish, perhaps. The girls chased it all over the yard(s), the alleyway, and everywhere after a heavy rainstorm, drenching themselves in the process. They finally gave up. As I was readying for bed that night, I looked out the window into the narrow passage between the wall and the obnoxious neighbor's fence, and saw the rabbit still at large. I hollered at it, and told Gi-gi to give me her bb gun, though I didn't expect her to do it.
She did, though, and as I waddled myself through the house and out the garage, I pumped up the ancient air-powered weapon. I stepped out of the garage door, barefoot, pregnant, and in my pajamas. I stepped gingerly in the water puddles, carefully peering around one corner, then another, in my hunt for the destructive rodent. It had disappeared, though, and I was left hoping that no one in the lofty apartments above had a telephoto lens trained on me. I'm sure if they did, that my image is on some blog somewhere garnering much laughter for the 'fancy' neighborhood that still occasionally sports some "breeder" wielding (what would likely look to them like) a rifle as she hunts some varmint for dinner.
The next morning as I was loading up the van for our return home, the creature reappeared near the short garden fence Gi-gi put up, and the bb gun was handy. It's not very powerful though, and while I aimed and hit with accuracy, the rabbit didn't do much more than jump and scurry in a circle before pausing and receiving a second sting. After that, it hid across the alley in another backyard, and I haven't yet heard from Gi-gi if it's shown it's face near her garden again.
The question remains whether *I* will be showing *my* face in that neighborhood anytime soon...