When I'm not trying to write novels I spend a couple of days a week working in Trading Standards and Animal Health at a local authority. Its an interesting job and I've learn lots about the law and the reality behind Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which are most likely largely funded by Big Fat Gypsy scams, mainly of vulnerable old people who they persuade to part from their life savings for dodgy roofing work. It can be quite depressing at times.
Animal Health, on the other hand, often gives me reason to smile. The word 'animal' is actually a bit misleading because we don't deal with all animals, just farm animals. If you find a dead cow in your swimming pool - and not the old bat from down the road - then I'm your man, so to speak. If there's a stray dog on your lawn, then call the RSPCA.
We get a lot of calls from the public about animal welfare; things like cows standing in mud (er.. they're cows). God bless the townies who move to the country then complain that their car is getting dirty because the farmer's fields are muddy. Sometimes it's difficult not to tell them that you'll immediately instruct the farmer to astroturf his fields.
Living as we do in are area where there are a lot of badgers, we get quite a lot of calls about them. To be honest I'm not sure why the government is spending money on a badger cull when car vs badger seems to be doing the trick just fine. My journey to work is punctuated with badger corpses in various stages of decay and destruction, from intact to badger mince
meat. Whatever, though, they aren't our problem but we do try to help whenever we can.
Joe Public: Is this Animal Health
Me: Yes, how can I help
Joe Public: There's a dead badger in my garden
Me: Really? Well keep it quiet or everyone will want one (OK so I didn't really say that but it was tempting)
Me: I'm sorry to hear that
Joe Public: Well can you come and move it?
Me: I'm afraid that we only deal with farm animals and the Council only has responsibility for dead animals on the public highway
Joe Public: Well this one is in my garden
Me: I'm really sorry but it would only be our responsibility if it was on the public highway
Joe Public: Yes, but it's not, it's in my garden
Me: Yes, but if it were to be on the public highway then we'd have to move it
Joe Public: But it's in my garden
Me: Yes, I understand, I'm just saying that if it were, say, on the footpath outside your house then it would be our responsibility to move it
Joe Public: But it's not. It's by my shed. In my back garden.
Me: Yes, I'm just trying to give you a scenario here. Say you went outside and found a badger on the footpath....
Joe Public: But I didn't...
Me: Just stay with me here, Sir, if you went outside and found a badger on the path outside your house, particularly if it was, for example, blocking the pavement then what you could do is either phone us up or go online and follow the 'report a dead animal' link on the Council website. Do you see what I'm saying?
Joe Public: Aha, so if this dead badger was to find it's way from next to my garden shed onto the path outside my house, then you'd have to come and remove it.
Me: Well, of course, I'm not suggesting any particular course of action, just advising you what you could do should you find a dead badger on the public highway.
Joe Public: Right. OK.
Ten minutes later....
Joe Public: Hello, I'd like to report a dead badger on the path outside my house. It's actually blocking the pavement
Me: Really, Sir, I'll just pass you on to our Street Cleansing team
Guest post by womagwriter Keith Havers
3 days ago