Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Bunnies hopping over to a new shelter
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.