Austrian police have defended their decision to shoot a "crazed" hare which savaged a Linz pensioner before laying into her husband and subsequently battling with officers called to the scene.
According to Spiegel Online, the elderly target of the assault was hanging out her washing in her garden on Monday when the leporine assassin bit her foot, causing her to fall. Mercifully, she escaped into the house, where hubby called in the SWAT team.
Before the hare-supression unit arrived, however, the 78-year-old man ill-advisedly decided to tackle the animal with a stick, an uneven struggle he was losing when officers arrived. Police ordered the battling septuagenarian inside and, when the hare refused to cease and desist, shot the animal.
Linz police defended their shoot-to-kill policy by pointing out that the hare could have escaped at any time. A statement said: "The animal always had the possibility of retreat because the garden was not closed off by a fence or other objects."
The dead hare has been sent to Vienna to be tested for rabies. The creature's female victim was treated in hospital for minor ankle injuries. ®
Thanks to Mike Richards and Martin Rottinger for the tip-off.