Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
SPCA seize rabbits found in 'horrendous' conditions
April 22, 2015 Darrell Bellaart, Nanaimo Daily News
Cruelty charges are being considered against a Nanaimo-area rabbit breeder investigators say kept 50 animals in "deplorable" conditions.
BC SPCA officers says they found the rabbits stuffed in cages so small the animals had no room to move, with many malnourished and sickly and several dead. The animal protection agency got involved after receiving a tip from the public.
"We certainly have enough information to recommend charges to the Crown," said Tina Heary, animal protection officer with the BC SPCA. The breeder has not been charged, and as such has not been identified, other than to say it was on a semi-rural property in the South Wellington area.
Investigators responded within hours of receiving the tip Thursday, and upon seeing the conditions the animals were being kept, a warning was issued to the owner. "The conditions were horrendous," Heary said. "I don't know how conditions can get so bad.
There were animals next to diseased animals, and next to dead ones." The breeder was told to improve the conditions for the animals or they would be seized, and the SPCA showed up two days later armed with a search warrant.
When officers showed up Saturday, Heary said that the conditions were bad enough the animals were seized. "There was excessive amounts of uncollected feces rabbits were forced to live in, while confined to small cages." She said some cages were only large enough to fit a large-breed rabbit, with no room to turn around. "It's always difficult when you have animals forces to live in unsanitary conditions and no opportunity to escape."
The animals were moved to the Nanaimo SPCA shelter, and veterinarians assessed them. On Monday many of the animals were moved to other Island shelters, taking the pressure off the Nanaimo facility. The breeder was raising the animals for food and to show.
A small dog was also seized. "This isn't the first time we've dealt with rabbit breeders who breed for the show ring and for their own consumption," Heary said.
Those wishing to adopt a rabbit can view those that are still available online at www.spca.bc.ca. As cute as rabbits are, the agency has no intention to allow them to breed uncontrolled, driving up Vancouver Island's already burgeoning feral rabbit population. "They all will be spayed or neutered," Heary said. "We don't want to contribute to that," she said. "I haven't done the math but if you take 49 rabbits and costs to spay or neuter, and medical needs, that's a big vet bill, but we're not going to contribute to (rabbit) overpopulation."
Comment: Rabbit Advocacy volunteers have visited a number of backyard breeding establishments over the years, and it’s been truly heartbreaking. These gentle critters are exploited solely for financial gain and most often not provided with even the basic necessities that constitute any degree of animal welfare. Sadly, rabbits are considered multi-purpose animals and the business is an unforgiving and merciless one.
April 30, 2015 update #2
We have received word that the SPCA has dropped its price to adopt a rabbit to $20.00 and that all rabbits are no longer being spayed or neutered prior to being rehomed. Instead, new owners are being given a certificate for $50.00 towards sterilization. Recently, somebody who had been sold a rabbit by the Vancouver SPCA in February, attempted to return him/her and was told they don’t accept returns.
Yet, according to the BC SPCA website: All applicants are carefully screened to ensure our animals are placed in the best possible home. BC SPCA animals are matched with the right guardian based on lifestyle, activity level and the type of care that can be provided. All adoptions require a completed application and an interview with a BC SPCA representative. Please note: All dogs, cats and rabbits will be spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
We have contacted the SPCA for an explanation. It certainly appears as though even now the SPCA considers some animals to be more equal than others and that it 'speaks' more loudly for some.
May 5, 2015 update #3 We have received a response from the Regional Operations Director, informing us that a rabbit “was adopted with a spay certificate, at a reduced rate and an unsuccessful attempt to return the rabbit was made by the adopter.” It was further added that this in no way reflects our adoption policy or standards.” The adoption fee for rabbits is $65.00 and all are spayed or neutered prior to adoption. Returns are accepted.
This was a mistake and steps have been taken to ensure similar incidents do not occur.
December 1, 2016 Seems like a few residents in a South Nanaimo subdivision are upset with the number of dumped domestic rabbits and their offspring coming onto their property. (Source: Nanaimo News Bulletin, Feral rabbits concern to south Nanaimo neighbourhood This issue is nothing new. There is an inordinate amount of development in this particular area, displacing not only rabbits but other wildlife who have made this their home for decades. Perhaps we should slow down our population growth, show some compassion, and stop destroying the habitat of other species trying to survive. And people, be responsible – spay or neuter your pet and remember it’s a lifelong commitment!