Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Rabbits in Paradise?

April, 2006

At first glance “Happy Glade” looks as though it were plucked from an European landscape painting. Tall trees sway in a lush green meadow; graying outbuildings are in the process of gently returning to the earth, a pond mirrors blue sky and soft clouds. What could be a more perfect home for that darling little domestic rabbit that you cannot find a good home? If you were a rabbit, isn’t this exactly where you would like to live? You won’t have to worry that your rabbit will be alone; other owners have thought the same thing as you and brought their rabbits to paradise.

Your rabbit found a burrow beneath a shed with a colony of domestic rabbits and soon it will have a family and in a few months those babies will have a family. There will be generation after generation of rabbits.

Look closer, look down at the base of those lofty trees, there are owl pellets. Follow the fence line do you see the coyote scat? Did you notice the tracks in the snow of deep winter; are they from a cougar or a bobcat? Do you see the hawks swooping or the two eagles wheeling above?

Look towards the road, do you see two large dogs off leash running through the field? Now peek in the inside the shed, do you see the broken beer bottles? Look behind the shed, do you see the fire pit? Others have found this to be a paradise as well: a perfect place to drink, take drugs and chase rabbits. What sport!

When winter came snow made an impenetrable blanket covering the grass, the pond was frozen and the rabbits had to travel farther from their burrows to find open water. A kind woman saw the rabbits’ plight; she brought food. This nourishment made it possible for the rabbits to have even more young; supplying wildlife with an endless supply of non-indigenous food.

Eventually this kind woman encountered some people who too, could not ignore the sad existence of these domestic rabbits barely surviving in the wild. These people were determined to rescue them and contacted Carmina Gooch with Animal Advocates Society of North Vancouver who offered advice, people to contact and support. Eleven rabbits have been rescued to date. Six wary rabbits remain, including a mother and baby. Every day, efforts are made to bring home the rest as bush-party season is gaining momentum.

Animal Advocates is providing $750.00 to spay or neuter many of the rabbits. Winfield Veterinarian Susan Wales generously gave Animal Advocates a very affordable rate.

This story is true, however, the place is not actually not called “Happy Glade”. The rabbits were left on private land at the outskirts of this community and until all the rabbits are rescued we must not reveal their location in “paradise”.

Katy Pace, North Okanagan Rabbit Rescue

The Morning Star
Sunday, June 20, 2004
Bunnies abound neighbourhood
By Cara MacDonald Morning Star Staff
They're multiplying like rabbits and one Vernon neighbourhood is worried about what to do with its bounty of bunnies. People living near W.L. Seaton Secondary School first noticed there were a lot of domestic rabbits that had gone wild about a year and a half ago. 
"Now we have four does who are having babies.  They had their first batch and some are ready to have another litter this year," said Maurie Deaton, who lives in the area.
"Some people fed them over the winter and we don't mind having them around but we've reached maximum capacity.  The rabbits are eating everyone's gardens.  The cats and dogs chase them and some of the kids catch them and torture them."
Rabbits mature in three months and can have litters every 28 days.
Deaton and some of the neighbourhood children have been catching the bunnies with a fishing net and keeping them safe in cages while they try to find homes for them.
She found that the SPCA won't take rabbits and the municipal government has no provisions for trapping and relocating rabbits as it does for other nuisance animals.
People who keep them as pets usually have them neutered and they can be trained to use a litter box inside. "Some irresponsible pet owners have been letting them go and it's not fair because they aren't going to survive and the ones that do will just keep spreading and not be safe because they don't have a lot of defenses," said Deaton.
"We hope we can get people to take them as inside or outside pets or maybe have some go to petting zoos.  We have all colours and they are nice quiet animals that do have their own personalities."
Comment:  Unwanted pet rabbits are dumped in municipalities all over B.C. and beyond.  The BC SPCA has provided no leadership with regard to the welfare of these animals, and municipal governments have not implemented bylaws prohibiting the sale or adoption of unaltered bunnies.  The provincial government considers them as wildlife.  Meanwhile, colonies are expanding, and pets stores, 4-H Clubs and backyard breeders see dollar signs, as irresponsible people keep buying.  These are lives--not toys--and not disposable commodities!
It's caring individuals and rescue groups who are taking it upon themselves to help rabbits like these ones.  We are working together, and committed to making a difference in the lives of these little critters.  As well as providing a home for many unwanted and abandoned rabbits, my husband and myself provide financial aid to groups like Vernon Rabbit Rescue, The Responsible Animal Care Society, the House Rabbit Society, and other individuals or sanctuaries needing assistance with medical bills and sterilization of domestic house rabbits.  Good, permanent homes are hard to come by, so please foster or adopt from your local humane society or rescue society.  It cannot be stressed enough that each of us can make a difference in our community, the world.  Let's create a better place for rabbits, and for all creatures on this planet.  Actions speak volumes ---demonstrate your solidarity with animals.  Carmina Gooch  
"All the arguments to prove man's superiority
cannot shatter this hard fact:
In suffering, the animals are our equals."
-- Peter Singer, from Animal Liberation

Victoria General Hospital gives order to kill bunnies; humans to blame for incessant problems; rabbits now multiplying at Helmcken exit, View Royal; 2016 relocation efforts in the works

Read more on our Pet Shops & Rabbit Legislation page