Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Rabbits dying in Glenmore 

Jun 26, 2008 Wayne Moore, Castanet.net

At least a dozen wild rabbits are dead in a vacant lot in the Glenmore area of Kelowna.

The carcasses of the animals, some which have been there several weeks, remain on the property at 2081 Cross Road, across from the new Dr. Knox Middle School.

Two rabbits, both bloody around the face and mouth, were slowly dying while Castanet was at the scene late Wednesday afternoon. One of the two died moments later.

Area resident, Ken Wyen, says at one time, there were lots of rabbits in the neighbourhood. "Slowly they've been going away. I haven't seen very many," says Wyen.  "It's been over a period of time where they've been decreasing and decreasing. I never really gave it much thought because I'm not really a fan of the rabbits."

Wyen says a few weeks ago, he saw somebody in a pick-up truck pull up to the property. "I can't say I saw them drop any poison or anything, but my wife and I went over there to see what they might have been doing. We did see some greyish powdery stuff like gunpowder with flakes in it. My wife covered a pile of it so the rabbits wouldn't eat it."

Another area resident, who didn't wish to be identified for fear of reprisals, says if it is poison, she worries about neighbourhood dogs, cats and other wildlife.

When contacted about the scene at the property, SPCA official, Karen Sterling, said the dead rabbits were not the responsibility of the SPCA. She says since City Council and the Regional District have deemed the rabbits to be wild, any concerns should be directed to the area conservation officer.

Neighbours says both conservation officers and RCMP have been notified of the deaths.

TRACS spokesperson, Sinikka Crossland, says two or three years ago, police were contacted after rabbits turned up dead in the Enterprise Road area. She says autopsies indicated the rabbits had been beaten to death.

City of Kelowna officials believe there are as many as 2,000 rabbits running loose in various areas of the city, including Enterprise, Glenmore and Ellison. EBB Environmental Consulting has been hired by the city to control the population. They expect to begin trapping the rabbits in September.

Cold death stalks beloved bunnies

June 27, 2008 Don Plant, Kelowna Daily Courier

Rabbit haters are using poison, sharp objects and even dogs to control a growing bunny population in Kelowna, say animal-right advocates. But authorities won‘t do much to stop the carnage. The European rabbits are considered an invasive species in B.C. and you can kill them without a permit.

“It would be an offence to poison rabbits,” said Jim Corbett, operations manager of the Conservation Officer Service for the Okanagan, “but it would be an extremely low priority for us.”

The latest slaughter of wild rabbits in North Glenmore has angered members of The Responsible Animal Care Society. More than a dozen bodies have appeared on a three-acre property at Valley and Cross roads in recent weeks. “This is extremely cruel,” TRACS director Sinikka Crosland said Thursday. “This is a painful death. These people should be charged with animal cruelty.”

Neighbours suspect two men living in the area have taken on the rabbit problem by dropping grey, grainy material on the ground for the animals to eat.

A TRACS member has collected samples of what she believes is poison and plans to deliver it to police for analysis. “Somebody is killing the rabbits, and not in a very nice way,” said Jane, whose name we‘ve changed because she fears retribution. “There are two neighbours who are very angry about rabbits.” Jane found four dead rabbits on the North Glenmore property last Saturday. Three of them were poisoned, she said. The fourth had been gutted with its innards hanging out.

“We‘re frustrated. The amount of abuse going on against these rabbits is unbelievable,” she said.

Crosland worries other wildlife are at risk because they may feed on rabbits and mice that may have ingested the poison. Residents are also frustrated. They complain the animals are chewing up their lawns and digging into their flower beds. There‘s sparse vegetation on the three-acre property, so the rabbits invade neighbouring yards.

TRACS has documented suspected rabbit cruelty for more than two years in the Enterprise Way area, where the population has exploded. Jane has heard of people tossing dead rabbits in garbage bags. One resident told her a man walking his dog at night shone his flashlight into a rabbit‘s eyes and the dog “tore its throat out,” she said. “He left the bodies around for people to see.”

Under the province‘s Wildlife Act, residents can trap the animals or shoot them, but can‘t poison them, Corbett said. Because the rabbits are part of the same family as natural rabbits, it‘s illegal to use poison.

Still, it‘s doubtful the Conservation Office will investigate the slaughter. Rabbits often live in close proximity and are prone to disease, Corbett said. “Rabbits sometimes die of other reasons than poison.”

TRACS has handed over a report to the RCMP, but police likely won‘t investigate because the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act applies only to domestic animals. The SPCA says the rabbits are beyond its jurisdiction because city council considers the rabbits wild.

An estimated 2,000 feral rabbits run free in Kelowna. The city has hired a firm to trap the animals starting this fall.

Comment:  These poor rabbits are the victims of cruel and cowardly individuals.  Too bad society has placed such little value on their lives, and that their deaths are deemed a low priority for the Conservation Office.  Deliberate acts of cruelty against innocent creatures must be taken seriously.  Please speak out for the rabbits and make this an issue.  Recent changes to BC's Wildlife Act did not address rabbits.  Our correspondence to the Ministry of Environment and to BC municipalities regarding the breeding and sale of domestic rabbits and their subsequent dumping into our communities has been ongoing.  While acknowledging that regulations pertaining to the European Rabbit need addressing, local government has yet to develop an approach to this issue.  The BC SPCA continues to partner with Petcetera, a retailer that is still selling intact baby bunnies, despite promises not to.

More news on the Kelowna bunnies UPDATE