Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters

 

Bunnies hopping over to a new shelter

By Tyler Olsen - Vernon Morning Star
December 02, 2007
 
The North Okanagan's abandoned rabbits have a new temporary shelter.

Several unused stalls at Kin Racetrack have been converted into pens for more than 50 abandoned and feral rabbits caught by Rabbit Rescue's Maurie Deaton.

The new home, which was arranged by Greater Vernon Services, is a positive development for a problem that Deaton said has led to the deaths of many bunnies at the hands of predators, cars and starvation.

"The real problem is people - around Easter or different times of the year - they go to the pet store and see these adorable bunnies," said Deaton. She said people get the rabbits but either lose interest or become annoyed by some of the behaviours of 'teenage' bunnies”.

"So they let them loose because they think it's the humane thing to do - but it's not."

Rabbits face multiple obstacles in the wild. They can get hit by cars, caught by coyotes or killed by household pets.

Many starve and others die from pregnancy complications. The result is a cycle of birth and death that is deeply upsetting for those with a love for the furry animals

Too often, the rabbits are neither spayed nor neutered. For rabbits that is especially problematic. Bunnies start mating five months after being born and can have litters every month.

Rabbits that are trapped are put up for adoption, after being spayed or neutered. Deaton said many problems could be solved if people stopped selling un-altered rabbits.

Deaton began trapping the rabbits three years ago, after a family of rabbits took up residence in her neighbourhood, where pets would regularly kill them.

"We had rabbits before - my daughter was a 4H bunny leader - so I could do something about it," she said. There were, Deaton said sadly, "too many carcasses."

While the new home is welcome, Deacon implores those thinking about getting a rabbit to consider whether they really can take care of it. Those unsure, can 'foster' a rabbit at the rescue centre, getting it used to people and deciding whether or not a rabbit is the right pet.


And rather than let them loose, Deaton implores people who no longer want their pet rabbit to call and spare the animal the ravages of life in the wild.

For more information on Rabbit Rescue or to adopt a bunny, call Maurie Deaton at 938-4411.

Comment: Please feel free to share this poster, and if you wish, print and display.  These rabbits need to be returned!  They were taken between 5:00 pm June 23rd and 8:30 am the 24th.

RCMP on the hunt for missing rabbits 

By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - June 26, 2008  

Attempts to rescue Vernon’s feral rabbits have been dealt a setback after 51 animals were stolen.

Sometime between 8:30 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, someone cut the locks off six stalls at Kin Racetrack and took all of the rabbits inside.

“It’s pretty devastating,” said Maurie Deaton, who runs Rabbit Rescue, which traps the rabbits, has them spayed or neutered and finds new homes for them.

No rabbits were found running loose, and it’s not known where they could be. “My biggest fear is they have been let loose somewhere and they will fall prey to predators,” said Deaton.

The RCMP are continuing to investigate the theft.  “We are doing some follow-up on it,” said Gord Molendyk, police spokesman.

Rabbit Rescue was recently the focus of some complaints about stall conditions, but it’s not been determined by the RCMP if there is a relation to the theft.

Deaton defends her organization, saying that volunteers work hard to ensure the rabbits are looked after. “They have pretty good accommodations,” she said.

The B.C. SPCA confirms staff were on scene June 20.

“We had (previously) made recommendations about improved conditions and we went back to see if the orders had been complied with,” said Marcie Moriarty, general manager of cruelty investigations. “They had been substantially complied with.”

Among the actions the SPCA wanted was the removal of carpet from pens and limiting the number of rabbits on scene.

“None of the rabbits were in immediate distress,” said Moriarty.

The SPCA is co-operating with the RCMP over the theft, but that does not include providing information on who complained about conditions at the stalls.

The Greater Vernon Services Committee allowed Deaton to house the rabbits at the publicly owned track, but that didn’t go over well with other user groups.

“This is not the place for rabbits,” said Wade Hardie, a horse trainer, who is worried about the public visiting the rabbits coming into physical contact with horses and being hurt.

But Hardie insists that people associated with horse training were not involved in the theft. “Nobody around here would have done this,” he said. That view is also supported by Deaton.

“They (horse trainers) were pretty shocked and concerned about their own animals,” she said.

Deaton is already looking for a new location to keep rabbits, and she says the theft won’t keep her from helping out. “You can’t let people stop you from doing something you believe in,” she said.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Vernon RCMP or Crime Stoppers.