THE HUMAN IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE TOP ANIMAL. BUT EVERY ONE OF THESE TRUE STORIES SHOWS HOW NONSENSICAL THAT IDEA CAN BE.
Back in the day, Carter Langdale’s job could be summed up easily: solve every problem that has anything whatever to do with animals. He had an official RSPCA brass plaque outside his Yorkshire home. He was a local figure, like the doctor or dentist, the village postmistress, the vicar, the vet or the undertaker, and sometimes he had to be bits of all of those.
Off duty? No such thing. People would knock on the door and present the Langdales with a litter of kittens, an injured owl, any kind of stray – foxes, badgers, young otters, hedgehogs. Some folk were genuinely concerned, some over concerned; some saw a convenient way to rid themselves of an inconvenient animal.
Carter never knew what might happen next. It could be a cow stuck in a ravine, a dog down a badger sett, a goose in a pub car park or a tortoise trying to cross the road. It might be an accusation of cruelty or, perhaps worse, a rumour of cruelty. It could be a cat up a tree, a runaway anaconda, an escaped budgerigar, or someone who kept five goats and a horse in the dining room.
There were wildlife criminals, too: badger diggers, bird’s eggers, bird trappers, bird-of-prey poisoners. There were wildlife UFO spotters convinced they had seen the Phantom Black Panther of Cleckuddersfax, and there was everything in between, from a monkey to a porpoise and back again.
Some stories will make you laugh, and some will make you weep. But they are all told with great humour and sympathy. For any animal lover, this book is a feast.