“Eh, what’s up, doc?” asked the Honorable Bugs Bunny as he presided over the trial.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” began the Easter Bunny. “I have gathered you all here in order that we can bring justice to our dearly departed brother, Mr. Roger Rabbit. Today we will determine which of these two suspects was guilty of Roger’s death on that fateful night eight weeks ago.”
“Was it Wes N. Smith, the lead-loving human with a history of hunting in those very woods? Or was it Jack Russell, the overly-active terrier known to terrorize local lagomorphs and other rodents?”
A low murmur of mumbling rose over the crowd, then slowly ebbed away. Hares were split on this case.
On one side is Thumper, the nature activist and friend of the forest. Thumper blames the human hunter, Wes N. Smith, for the loss of such a highly respected member of the cottontail community. His Political Action Committee “Bunnies against Gunnies” has been proposing legislation to ban hunting for years.
Unfortunately for Thumper, the forensics analysis from CSI: BunNY could not support any evidence of human hunter activity. The crime scene was much too clean. There was no gunshot residue or blood spatter on the ground. No bullet entry marks in any of the trees near the trail where Roger was suspected to disappear. And nobody had reported anything that sounded like a gunshot that night.
On the other side is Peter Cottontail, a local business bunny and Roger’s best friend. Although Peter was not with Roger on the night of his disappearance, he adamantly alleges that Roger’s death was due to Jack Russell.
As Peter took the stand, he directed his gaze toward the Easter Bunny and said, “I tell you, Roger and I have been hopping down that same bunny trail for years. Hippity. Hoppity. More than once we have had to scamper into the briar patch to escape Jack Russell. He’s a terrorist! If it were not for my lucky rabbit’s feet, I likely never would have escaped death myself. He’s guilty!”
At this last exclamation the crowd erupted into a roar. These hares were hopping mad! As he sat at his desk, Jack Russell began to squirm uncomfortably.
His Honor rapped his gavel loudly in an attempt to silence the bunches of bunnies gathered in his courtroom. “I would like to remind you all that this is a court of law. The suspect, Mr. Russell, is still innocent until proven guilty.”
Watching Jack shift in the hot seat in an almost ants-in-the-pants kind of scooting reminiscent of a child, the Easter Bunny said, “Your Honor, I believe Exhibit A has arrived.”
The bailiff escorted Jack Russell to the front of the court room and turned him around to present his posterior to the judge. Under his stubby nubbin of a tail were moving white things that looked like maggots. Peppered in the hair around his rear end were even smaller, yellow-brown, dried and shriveled flecks that resembled grains of rice.
“Eh, what’s up, doc?” repeated Judge Bugs Bunny.
“Your Honor, I present tapeworms,” exclaimed the Easter Bunny.
A collective gasp came over the courtroom. Every bunny had heard of tapeworms. Yet, none of them had ever seen them in this form. In rabbits, tapeworms migrate to the liver or the lining of the abdomen where they attach. Tapeworms are not shed from rabbits as they are in dogs or cats.
“Your Honor, presented here are proglottids, or sections of tapeworms. The moving sections have just been passed and are the cause of Jack Russell’s scooting. Each section is filled with dozens of eggs, which are being spread as the section moves about. The smaller and more shriveled segments are not as fresh. They have expelled their eggs and dried up.”
“So, unlike you, tapeworms do not keep all of their eggs in one basket!” jabbed the judge at the Easter Bunny.
“Your Honor, as every hare in here knows, a dog or a cat must eat a rabbit in order that they get tapeworms. Yet, not every one of us is aware that tapeworms can also be passed to dogs or cats that swallow a flea or eat a rodent, such as a mouse or rat.”
“Which brings me to Exhibit B,” finalized the Easter Bunny. “Here I have Jack Russell’s medical records. He lives with four cats and his owner meticulously administers a veterinary-strength flea-killing medication once a month to him and each of the cats. He has no chance of eating a mouse or swallowing a flea.”
Seeing the defendant licking his own rear in an attempt to alleviate the intense itchiness, the judge stated, “I think the evidence is punishment enough!”
Happy Easter from Dr. Adam Ferguson!