An amusing tale, by Robert Crampton, second item, in The Times:

Squirrel secret

I was at the pub yesterday, Indian summer, lovely evening, enjoy smoking, so I sat outside overlooking the park. The couple at the next table spent the whole time cajoling and controlling their two terriers, which were being driven to distraction by a grey squirrel perched on the parapet around the pub terrace. It sat there, this squirrel, eating litter, making a racket, generally taking the mickey. As the couple wrestled and restrained, I thought: why not just let the dogs have him?

Consider the facts. There are too many grey squirrels. Nobody much likes them. Nasty, ratty, noisy little things. Quite justifiably dogs want to kill them. What’s the problem? It’s not as if it’s an unequal contest, like bullfighting. The squirrel has more than a sporting chance of getting away. Everyone’s always moaning that we’re too divorced from nature in this country, 18th-century enclosures, early industrial revolution, can’t get local cheese in the village shop any more, etc etc. And yet we stop their dogs doing what every bone in their body is telling them to do, because it would be socially unacceptable to let them loose. But why is it socially unacceptable? I can’t think of one good reason.

Besides that, do they think that when the dogs are by themselves in their backyards they’re not happily tearing those little squirrels apart? So it’s not as if they’re keeping their dear pets from succumbing to some unfortunate instinct. Unless they’re indoor terriers, perhaps. Like some cats.