Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


The horrible and inhumane existence of meat rabbits 

On March 14, 2008 it was reported by the Toronto Sun that more than 300 rabbits being raised for meat were rescued from deplorable conditions from a farm in Simcoe County.  The OSPCA had seized them after a complaint was received.  The case is still under investigation and charges are expected to be laid.  Meanwhile, the Barrie SPCA branch is being kept busy as are foster homes and shelters in Greater Toronto.  Rabbit Rescue Inc. is assisting with some of the sick bunnies.  Most of the rabbits are female and dozens are already pregnant even though they are still nursing litters. 

This case is typical of these operations, animals raised in filth in backyard sheds and ramshackle structures, unable to move, and crammed against each other.  It's always about the bottom line.  

February 25, 1998 the Vancouver Province reported that 350 rabbits had been stomped to death.  This was a commercial meat rabbit operation in Cloverdale in which somebody had removed the 280 does and 60 bucks from their cages, thrown them to the ground, and then kicked or beaten them on their heads till they died. 

Raised for slaughter, stomped to death - life is cheap.  For some, cheaper than others.  

Mental and/or physical health problems create animal suffering 

In a case in Reno, Nevada, a situation got totally out of control, resulting in more than 1,000 rabbits being rounded up and brought to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  A woman who had been taking in rabbits on her one-acre property for years began having health issues and until a rescue effort was launched in 2006, the rabbits kept multiplying.

If you know of someone involved in animal hoarding, please report them to the appropriate authorities before a situation gets out of hand.  Hoarders put their need to accumulate and control ahead of providing even the basic care to their victims.  These innocent animals are at their mercy.

Hoarding - 30 animals, some found in freezer
Meenon, WI (US)
Incident Date: Friday, Aug 19, 2005
County: Burnett

Classification: Hoarding
Disposition: Alleged
Alleged: Michael Mardell

Responding to smells and reports of urine and feces, Burnett County Health and Human Services condemned a house on Peterson Road Aug. 19, after finding multiple animals, dead and alive, inside and outside the property. The owner of the house, Michael Mardell, 34, was arrested and charged with one felony count of animal abuse, along with six other counts of adequate space, ventilation, sanitation, food and water, and cruelty neglect.

Sheriff’s Deputy Julie Turner said Mardell hoarded 30 animals at his house, leaving some outside during the month of July. The list of animals included five living rabbits, six dead rabbits, 13 living dogs, one dead dog, one dead guinea pig and four dead rodents. A cat was never found, and believed to have been hiding outside or in the basement.

The dead animals found in Mardell's freezer, including a dog, which had been there since August 2004. The Burnett County Humane Society took the living animals, where they will be treated for any diseases.

The Burnett County Sheriff's Department first saw the place Aug. 17 after getting a call about the conditions of his home and the animals, but were unable to locate Mardell and see through the windows because they were boarded up.

The following day, Mardell took a stray dog from Frederic back to his house, causing the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department to request an inspection warrant. It matched the description of a missing dog, reported Aug. 15 from the Frederic Police Department Aug. 15.

They returned to the house Aug. 19 and heard animals on the property. Deputy Julie Turner said described the smell outside as an “over-powering, obnoxious feces smell.”

Mardell pulled in with the stray dog after they began searching for any entryway to the house. He told deputies that he had been living in his van so that the animals could be in the house. After looking at the inside, deputies called in Health and Human Services to look at the house, where they deemed it unacceptable for human habitation.

Inside, it was a huge mess with garbage, junk and animal food everywhere. Anywhere she walked something was full of urine, feces or both. “The garage and the house were bad, with the exception of one bedroom, where one of the animals tried scratching their way out,” she said. “The bathroom was the worst.”

Now the county health department is sending an inspector to check the structural damage outside of the house due to urine and feces soaking in. The inspector will then make an estimate of how much it will cost to fix it and compare it to the actual worth. Turner said the house was fine five years ago.

Turner said Mardell didn’t mind getting arrested, but he was sad saying, “don’t take my animals away.” Mardell was showing some form of mental illness because he hoards so many things that he doesn’t get rid of them. Turner said hoarders don’t realize they’re not only hurting themselves but everything around them.

The animals, in the meantime, will be held at the Humane Society until seizure review, which Mardell will now have to request in court. He has until Aug. 29 to do so. But Turner said the ultimate goal in this is that he never be allowed to own another animal again, based on the living conditions.

Hoarding approximately 160 rabbits
St. Anthony, MN (US)
Date: Aug 9, 2004

Classification: Hoarding
Disposition: Not Charged
Person of Interest: Cathy Tarnowski

Responding to a complaint from a neighbor, authorities removed about 160 domestic rabbits - some dead and some alive - from a home and condemned the brick rambler as uninhabitable. "I just wanted them to be able to live their life out, and I made a mess again. It just got out of hand. I'm not a bad person," Cathy Tarnowski said Monday, fighting back tears as firefighters piled the kennels of rabbits on her front yard.

Just five years ago, Tarnowski was found to have sheltered hundreds of living and frozen rabbits.

In August 1999, police summoned firefighters, humane society and Hennepin County Community Health workers to Tarnowski's home. It took more than seven hours to remove more than 400 rabbits, nearly a fourth of them dead. Smaller numbers had been found in her home each of the previous two years, authorities said.

Tim Shields, administrator and general counsel of the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies, said he believes that, in general, hoarding is more an issue of mental health than animal cruelty. "It tugs at your heartstrings because you just know it's a sickness or some kind of mental illness they just can't control," he said.

Researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts who have studied animal hoarding found most hoarders are women, and most live alone; they often feel isolated and sometimes wrestle with depression. In such a world, experts say, pets help satisfy a deep-seated need for some speck of control, and they become like family members to the hoarders. "They almost always have a name for every single one of them," Shields said. "And they generally keep the dead ones on site."

Tarnowski, 54, a grocery store cashier, lives alone on a quiet street in the house her family moved into back in the 1960s. Neighbors said she is friendly and personable. "She's a very nice lady," said Brad Held, who has lived nearby for three years. "I just think she has a bleeding heart for animals and doesn't know when to say when's enough."

Tarnowski said she made sure the rabbits were well fed and cared for. She said she recently spent $800 to have a vet care for one with gastrointestinal stasis, and that she kept medical records for each one.

She wanted to have the dead ones cremated, she said, but that would have cost her $120 per rabbit. Most died of old age, she said. "They all seemed well-adjusted and not frightened," she said.

Tarnowski relinquished her custodial rights to the rabbits, which will allow vets to determine which may be healthy enough for adoption and which must be destroyed.

Animal cruelty and neglect cases affect all of society.  Cases making news http://www.pet-abuse.com/pages/home.php

Another horrific case involving a rabbit

Comox Valley Echo (on the Readers’ Forum)
Friday, May 02, 2008

SUNDAY MORNING April 27, I took my dog for a run at the Marina. He ran to the Gazebo by the washrooms and started sniffing around one of the trees which is planted adjacent to the Gazebo. To my horror in the planted tree was a mutilated rabbit hung by its neck. This rabbit suffered horrifying pain before it died. Now I do not know if it was one person or several but it is really unfortunate that your Mom/s and/or Dad/s did not inform you that you are pretty much A WASTE OF SKIN. Get out of our town. This type of crap is not only not permitted but not tolerated.

Comment:  Agreed. Sick, deviant behaviour perpetrated upon defenseless and vulnerable creatures is criminal.  While our cruelty laws aren’t strong enough to mete out penalties severe enough for these low-life morons, it’s no wonder that people are beginning to dispense their own brand of justice.    

Related news: Rabbits mutilated before being murdered; cruelty nets jail time, Florida