Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


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To PetSmart: selling rabbits is selling out

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Thursday, 9 August 2007, at 4:50 p.m.

PetSmart has recently made the decision to test the sale of spayed and neutered dwarf rabbits for $99.99 in some of its US stores and is expanding across Canada. They took over 18 Super Pet stores on June 1st and a new one will soon open in the District of North Vancouver. Please read the information below and sign the petition. Letters can be sent to: http://www.petsmart.com/global/customerservice/contactUsForm.jsp

Thanks, Carmina

Selling Bunnies is Selling Out - PetSmart Petition Update

August 8, 2007 : 1:58 PM

We asked and you answered. Best Friends Network would like to send a special thank you to everyone who has signed our Selling Bunnies is Selling Out petition. With your support we have almost reached our goal of 30,000 signatures, telling PetSmart to do the right thing and only allow adoptions of homeless rabbits in PetSmart stores.

Your support of this campaign has helped communicate the importance of this issue to PetSmart. As a result, the original 40 store test has been reduced to 25 stores. Although we haven't reached our final goal, you have brought us one step closer to eliminating the retail sales of the third most euthanized pet.

Please continue to support this campaign. You are making a difference. We are almost at our goal and we ask you to email this page (using the link at upper right) to three friends and family members and urge them to sign the petition.

We also invite you to become a network member (if you aren't one already) - it's easy and free! Through this grassroots Network, we will keep you abreast of the latest news on this issue as we take the necessary steps to end the cruelty of animals everywhere.

Thank you for your support,
The Best Friends Network Team


To PetSmart: Selling Rabbits is a Sell-Out to Commercialism

July 20, 2007 : 3:22 PM

Statement from Best Friends

The PetSmart decision to sell rabbits in 40 of their stores is disappointing. Rabbits are the third most euthanized pet in most city and county shelters, and, like dogs and cats, thousands of them are looking for good homes.

PetSmart and its competitor, Petco, realized early on that there was more downside than upside in selling dogs and cats, especially when they could invite pet rescue organizations--desperate for adoption outlets--to set up at their stores, provide the animal presence to attract customers, and drive sales of pet supplies.

When the “no-kill” movement began to gather steam in the early 1990s, both PetSmart and Petco became our allies by setting up their own animal charities to promote spay/neuter and adoption and save homeless pets. Both PetSmart Charities and The Petco Foundation continue to do significant good for homeless pets, and the animal protection movement generally applauds their commitment to the cause.

So the sudden announcement that PetSmart will sell house rabbits raises an obvious dilemma for the rescue and humane community.

PetSmart and Petco point out that they’re already selling parrots, chinchillas, ferrets, mice, rats, hamsters, and some reptiles. So why not rabbits?

Indeed, Best Friends is committed to bringing an end to the sale of all household pets – period. But first things first. Cats and dogs comprise the great majority of pets dying in shelters, and that’s why we called for an end to the selling of puppies and kittens.

In recent years, there has been a huge upsurge in the number of bunnies landing in – and consequently dying in – city and county animal shelters, along with a parallel surge in rabbit rescue groups. Last year, for example, Best Friends was called to a backyard in Reno, Nevada, where a group of rabbits that had not been spayed or neutered had multiplied to 1,600, and required thousands of staff hours and hundreds of thousands or dollars to sort out.

Bottom line: When PetSmart starts selling bunnies, they’re fueling another rash of unscrupulous commercial pet-breeding mills –just like the puppy mills and kitten mills.

Best Friends joins other animal protection groups in asking PetSmart to reconsider its decision. Apply the same principle to rabbits that you rightly do for cats and dogs. Do the right thing for bunnies and all homeless animals by only allowing adoptions of homeless rabbits in your stores.

We’re asking our members and supporters to weigh in on this issue. Let us know how you feel about PetSmart’s decision to sell rabbits.


Tell PetSmart to Stop Exploiting Rabbits

Posted By: Lavone Zeviar
Thursday, 30 August 2007, at 11:46 a.m.


Boycott for Bunnies! Tell PetSmart to Stop Exploiting Rabbits

Greedy PetSmart recently went back on its years-old "promise" not to sell rabbits in its stores. Like dogs and cats, unwanted rabbits are routinely dumped at animal shelters across the country because of simple math: There are too many bunnies and not enough good homes for them.

Rabbits are social creatures with gentle natures and individual personalities. They also require special diets, stimulating environments (never an outdoor hutch!), and veterinarians who specialize in their care. Caring for rabbits is not simple or easy, which is why bunnies are the third-most surrendered animals in the U.S.

Are dogs and cats next for PetSmart?

Business-savvy PetSmart has for years ingratiated itself to animal protection and placement groups by allowing those groups to hold adoptions at its local stores. PETA's headquarters have heard from many of these groups that are deeply upset by PetSmart's shocking and irresponsible decision to ignore the rabbit overpopulation crisis, contribute to the needless deaths of rabbits in shelters, and contribute to the massive mill breeding of warehoused rabbits at "high-volume" breeding hellholes.

PetSmart's decision to sacrifice animal welfare for cash comes as no surprise. During an undercover investigation at a PetSmart store in Connecticut-a store that has a Banfield Hospital right inside it and that PetSmart boasts of as having an "outstanding pet care team" and an "exceptional pet care record"-PETA documented that dozens of small animals had been deprived of adequate veterinary care and were slowly dying in the store's back room.

The multimillion-dollar company is clearly unwilling to provide adequate basic care to the animals who are already bought and sold in its stores.

Please join PETA in calling on PetSmart to immediately halt its irresponsible, deadly plan to sell rabbits while rescue groups are bursting at the seams with equally deserving homeless rabbits. Let the company know that you will not be setting foot in any of its stores until live animals are no longer part of the inventory.

Did you know?

* House Rabbit Society (HRS) chapters across the U.S. spend an average of 32,000 hours per year handling calls from people who no longer want to keep their rabbits as well as counseling the public on proper and humane rabbit care.

* A combined total of about 35,000 calls from people wishing to "get rid of" their bunnies pour into HRS chapters every year.

* HRS estimates that in the greater Los Angeles area, city shelters take in more than 1,100 rabbits per year and county shelters take in an additional 1,000, while other agencies in L.A. take in about 500 more.

* City euthanasia rates last year were 50 percent for rabbits.

Letter to PetSmart: stop selling rabbits

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Thursday, 30 August 2007, at 4:55 p.m.

In Response To: Tell PetSmart to Stop Exploiting Rabbits (Lavone Zeviar)

All you have to do is fill in the required information and the letter PETA has drafted will go to Mr. Phillip L. Francis, Chairman and CEO of PetSmart. http://getactive.peta.org/campaign/petsmart_rabbit_cruelty?c=weekly_enews

PETA also held a protest outside PetSmart Inc.'s north Phoenix headquarters today. (Thursday, Aug. 30th) There's no need for rabbits to be bred and sold while perfectly adoptable ones are being destroyed simply because there aren't enough good homes.

Dear Mr. Francis,

I was appalled to learn that PetSmart has recently begun "test-selling" rabbits in its stores. In addition to adding to the serious problem of rabbit overpopulation, PetSmart is reneging on its commitment not to sell certain animals, including dogs, cats, and rabbits. If PetSmart is a company that, according to its own Web site, considers caring for pets "a moral obligation and responsibility," how do you justify contributing to the breeding and selling of bunnies (or any other animals, for that matter) - who suffer and must be euthanized in shelters nationwide, just as dogs and cats are - to be either moral or responsible?

Rabbits are the third-most surrendered companion animals in the U.S., after cats and dogs. PetSmart's reckless decision will condemn countless homeless rabbits to death. Please halt your plans to sell rabbits. I will not shop at PetSmart, and I will be sure to tell all my friends and family members to do the same.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver, BC

PetSmart's reply:

Thank you for contacting PetSmart Customer Care.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you, and thank you again for contacting PetSmart Customer Care.

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us regarding our test of dwarf rabbit sales in our stores. Your feedback is important to us and we're taking it seriously.

This particular test only involves about 25 of our more than 900 stores and is likely to hold at this level until we have more information. We conduct in-store tests to get a real-world view of all the issues related to the sale of a particular pet before we do anything more. During this test we're collecting additional data and information related to breeding, health and care, associate training, retention, customer satisfaction, adoption vs. sales, population and all other aspects related to sale of these pets. We carefully test concepts to make sure the best interests of the pet, the Pet Parent and our business are served.

We have received letters and phone calls from various animal welfare organizations including the House Rabbit Society as a result of this test. Because the HRS's letter addresses a number of concerns that also have been voiced by other groups and individuals, has been widely circulated, and serves as the basis for many of the letters we have received, we have posted both it and our response online at www.petsmartfacts.com. We encourage you to visit this site to read our response and for more details about this test.

If we choose to expand the test or to eventually implement rabbit sales throughout our system, it will be only after we are convinced that we have a full understanding of all the issues and that we can provide this pet to homes in a responsible and ethical manner.

Importantly, during this test we will continue as we have always done to partner with qualified local rescue organizations that adopt out rabbits and other pets in our stores. We expect nothing to change in this regard no matter what the test's outcome.

We share your passion for pets and want to assure you we'll do what's right for our Pet Parents and their pets. Thanks again for sharing your concerns with us.


PetSmart Customer Care

Bunny complaints multiply at UVic

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Friday, 21 September 2007, at 4:54 p.m.

Bunny complaints multiply at UVic
Neighbours call the critters a scourge, so university appoints a task force

Kim Westad
Times Colonist

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The University of Victoria has a new task force - on rabbits.

To some, the fluffy creatures are a scourge on the community, pests hopping across Gordon Head Road from the UVic campus and "invading" residential properties. To others, they're the unofficial mascot of the university.

The number of rabbits heading across Ring Road into neighbouring residential areas is on the rise and at a tipping point, says Gordon Head Road resident Peter Spurr.

Last year a few made their way across, but this year there has been a veritable parade. The rabbits are now in an area three or four lots deep on adjacent streets, said Spurr, who is worried they'll continue their onslaught and "infect the neighbourhood."

"UVic is being very irresponsible in allowing the huge rabbit population to affect its neighbours," said Spurr.

Spurr doesn't care why it's happening, or how UVic deals with it, as long as something is done. He doesn't know what a task force can do. "It sounds to me as if it's just a delaying tactic. But I suppose it's something."

The task force was announced Monday, after UVic received a letter from the Mount Tolmie Community Association, complete with photographs of gangs of rabbits. They burrow in lawns, eat gardens, damage irrigation equipment and generally create havoc.

It's a complex problem, with strong feelings on both sides, said Gerald Robson, who is UVic's executive director of facilities management.

There have been concerns about potential health issues caused by rabbit feces on campus, he said.

"We haven't had an opportunity to meet with people to fully assess the impact, either negative or positive, that the rabbits are bestowing upon us," Robson said yesterday. "Some people see the rabbits as a problem. Others see them as quite desirable, so it's without a doubt going to be a very sensitive issue."

UVic has never culled the rabbits or conducted a formal discussion about having the creatures shot. Robson said it's premature to say whether that would even be an option considered by the task force. UVic has counted on natural predation, letting nature take its course with the area's many falcons, owls, hawks and off-leash dogs.

The university has long tried to find a way to contain the damage done by the cute creatures, even building a $10,000 fence around the prize-winning rhododendron collection at Finnerty Gardens on campus.

Just how many rabbits call UVic home isn't known, but it's likely at least 1,000. And rabbits being rabbits - females have about five litters per year, with an average of 12 young per litter - the number is in constant fluctuation.

The rabbits are not wild, Robson said, but the result of people abandoning domesticated rabbits on campus.

He noticed a large increase in the number of rabbits at UVic after rabbits at Victoria General Hospital were culled by shooting in 1999. The hospital has also had a large and prolific rabbit population.

When the numbers get too large, some of the rabbits are culled, said Suzanne Germaine, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Island Health Authority. That started in 1999 and happens periodically, to keep the population under control.

Just who will be on UVic's task force isn't known yet. Robson said they'll have a cross-section of people who are interested in the issue.

Re: Bunny complaints multiply at UVic

Posted By: Lisa Hutcheon
Monday, 24 September 2007, at 11:48 a.m.

In Response To: Bunny complaints multiply at UVic (Carmina Gooch)

As usual, no one really gives a damn about the rabbit problem until they have *their flowers eaten*.
A flower - which in our society apparently is more worthy than a sentient being.

Bunnies too fertile for their own good

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Tuesday, 2 October 2007, at 1:48 p.m.

Bunnies too fertile for their own good

Times Colonist
Monday, October 01, 2007

In the midst of the catastrophes of the world, the rabbits of UVic are small potatoes, but they are nonetheless a real ecological problem, whatever the sentimentalists who feed them carrots and lettuce may think. Those who blame UVic for failing to deal sensibly with the rabbit problem are entirely right.

Yet the principal blame must fall on the rabbit owners who release their former pets on the university grounds and the pet stores who sell the rabbits in the first place. Unless the sale of rabbits capable of bearing young is brought to an end -- either by forbidding their sale altogether, or by allowing only the sale of spayed rabbits -- it's clear that there will be no permanent solution, for the removal of today's rabbits will only make room for their abandoned replacements. Some legislative body must step forward to resolve the problem.

John Tucker,

Letters and phone calls to both Petcetera and the BC SPCA haven't been responded to

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Tuesday, 2 October 2007, at 1:51 p.m.

In Response To: Bunnies too fertile for their own good (Carmina Gooch)

Most rabbits are bought on impulse with absolutely no understanding as to their care, and subsequently abandoned once they are no longer wanted. Most often people choose to dump them outdoors since that's most convenient. As prolific breeders, a rabbit's gestation period averages 30 days.

So it was good news when Petcetera announced with great fanfare earlier this year that it would discontinue selling rabbits in all its BC stores by September 1st, and instead, stock its stores with sterilized rabbits provided by the SPCA.

While the good news is that this is true of Lower Mainland stores, the bad news is that breeders are still supplying the stores in the rest of the province with baby bunnies.

Letters and phone calls regarding this issue to both Petcetera and the BC SPCA haven't been responded to. Maybe legislation will help, but one thing is certain, the rabbits always pay the price of human behaviour.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver

I currently have several perfectly healthy, non-aggressive rabbits that just months ago were going to be put down

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Friday, 12 October 2007, at 6:17 p.m.

In Response To: 2006: The killing of 60 cats at the Comox SPCA: Questions re the SPCA's definition of critically ill *LINK* (Charlyene Olson)

I don't know how the BC SPCA's Lorie Chortyk can possibly say that the "society doesn't euthanize healthy animals." Over the years I've been contacted numerous times regarding rabbits that were going to be killed because of "no other options" and currently have several perfectly healthy, non-aggressive rabbits from this organization that just months ago were going to be put down. I wrote twice to both Ms Chortyk and Mr Daniell regarding this issue but haven't received a reply.

Rabbits neutered and sent to B. C. refuge

Posted By: Diane Esther
Friday, 19 October 2007, at 6:23 a.m.

Rabbits neutered and sent to B. C. refuge
CanWest News Service

CALGARY — Volunteers are rounding up rabbits at an upscale northwest community in hope of saving them from winter.

There could be hundreds of domesticated rabbits in Valley Ridge. “ These are not hares, they are domesticated rabbits, which are born naked, meaning they can freeze in the winter,” said R. J. Bailot, a volunteer with Pound Rescue, which is trapping the animals.

Nearly 20 have been captured, neutered and shipped to a fenced sanctuary near Kelowna at a cost of up to $ 7,000.

Shawn Hemens, president of the Valley Ridge Community Association, said “ We had residents come forward offering to help poison them. Clearly, we weren't going to consider that.”

It sounds like this could be implemented in the areas of UVic, around the Nanaimo airport, etc. Although the initial out-lay sounds pricey, once the sanctuary is built, the costs would involve only the spaying/neutering, and transporting could likely be done by volunteers.
Just another avenue to discuss in the hopes of saving so many lives of these oft-neglected little creatures.

Feverishly multiplying bunnies taking over Valley Ridge

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Friday, 19 October 2007, at 9:21 a.m.

In Response To: Rabbits neutered and sent to B. C. refuge (Diane Esther)

Calgary Sun
October 17, 2007

Feverishly multiplying bunnies taking over Valley Ridge


The community of Valley Ridge is being overrun by bunnies, a situation that has an animal rescue agency pleading with Calgarians not to purchase rabbits as pets.

Dozens of rabbits have made yards and green spaces in the northwest Calgary community their home.

They are feasting on gardens and provoking the ire of residents, some who have called for the culling of the growing bunny population.

The city doesn't want to euthanize the animals, which are already facing death at the jaws of coyotes or the harsh looming winter, said Bill Bruce with Calgary Bylaw and Animal Services.

"They're a concern because they attract coyote activity and there's concern about their welfare," he said.

"These are domestic animals who have been let loose ... they're not equipped to handle Alberta winters."

Captured rabbits are being kept in host homes until they get shipped to a sanctuary in the Okanagan area of B.C.

Run, rabbit, run

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Friday, 19 October 2007, at 9:22 a.m.

In Response To: Rabbits neutered and sent to B. C. refuge (Diane Esther)

Run, rabbit, run

Calgary Herald
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Those little rabbits running wild in Valley Ridge should go hopping down the bunny trail -- straight to the Mustard Seed or other local soup kitchens.

Folks from Pound Rescue are trapping hundreds of domestic rabbits, thoughtlessly turned loose by their owners, and plan to send them to live in a sanctuary near Kelowna. It may come as a surprise to learn that rabbits need a sanctuary, as their legendary reproductive powers mean they'll never find their way onto the endangered species list. There's a better solution for these wascally wabbits, apart from leaving them for the coyotes to prey upon.

They can take a one-way hop to the butcher shop, and be turned into delicious rabbit stew for the homeless and hungry folks of Calgary.

Rabbit stew? Would the writer propose cat or dog stew as a solution to their abandonment?

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Friday, 19 October 2007, at 9:25 a.m.

In Response To: Rabbits neutered and sent to B. C. refuge (Diane Esther)

Published October 21, 2007
Calgary Herald

Rabbit stew is taboo

Just because thoughtless people have dumped their pet rabbits outside to fend for themselves is no reason to suggest they be re-victimized again by having them butchered to feed the homeless and hungry. I seriously doubt the editorial would have proposed this if it were cats or dogs. It's callous human attitudes and actions that has Valley Ridge and communities everywhere flooded with cast-off bunnies.

One way to help end the abandonment and reduce populations is to have all pet stores stop selling rabbits.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver, BC

True compassion is not selective

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, at 6:25 a.m.

In Response To: Rabbit stew? Would the writer propose cat or dog stew as a solution to their abandonment? (Carmina Gooch)

No bunny abuse

Calgary Herald
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stew - Re: "Rabbit stew is taboo," Letter, Oct. 21 and "Run, rabbit, run," Editorial, Oct. 18.

Hats off to Carmina Gooch for a wonderful response to a heartless editorial. To suggest an inhumane solution to a problem, especially one instigated by humans, is also irresponsible.

An editorial board of a major urban newspaper is in a position to effect positive social change, such as opening the eyes of the citizenry to the fact that humans, cats and dogs are not the only sentient beings on the planet.

True compassion is not selective, but extends to all breathing, feeling creatures. This may come as a shock, but rabbits, cows, pigs and chickens all feel terror and pain as they are being caught and butchered to feed us humans. Surely in the 21st century we can recommend more humane methods.

Amba Balu

Stop rabbit sales ad in Calgary Herald *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Saturday, 20 October 2007, at 2:37 p.m.

In Response To: Rabbits neutered and sent to B. C. refuge (Diane Esther)

Once again we are asking the public to support our campaigns to stop rabbit sales in pet stores. We ran a previous ad in the Calgary Herald on June 7, 2007 and at the same time created an online petition and letter to Petcetera asking that the sale of rabbits be stopped in stores Canada-wide. Residents of Alberta are having concerns of multiplying rabbits not only in Canmore but in Calgary as well. The casual dumping of domestic rabbits once the novelty has worn off has many communities facing the dilemma of how to handle growing populations.

To read more on our work on behalf of rabbits and to add your voice to our campaigns visit:

Pets In Need Society www.petsinneedsociety.ca
Pacific Animal Foundation
Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC

Our ad for October 23rd's Calgary Herald

Teens blow up bunny in Richmond

Posted By: Lavone Zeviar
Saturday, 3 November 2007, at 8:14 a.m.

In Response To: Seeing pet abuse as a warning (Diane Esther)

Dead rabbit horrifies mom

Eve Edmonds
Richmond News

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween truly was a night of horror for Merle Vered, who came upon what appeared to be a group of teens, blowing up a bunny rabbit with a firecracker just behind Brighouse elementary school.

"We had been out trick-or-treating and were just crossing behind Brighouse to get to the fireworks display."

Vered noticed a group of what she thought to be teens and a lot of smoke. "I wondered if they were going to set the school alight."

As she and another parent, along with eight kids, got closer, the teens bolted. "We noticed something on the ground and the kids ran ahead to look."

They found a rabbit with its guts oozing out. "I don't want to be graphic, but there was a hole in its stomach," said Vered. There was also a bag nearby, which she thinks might have been used to carry the rabbit to the park.

She quickly tried to get the kids away. Another adult (she assumes he was the school janitor) seemed to be taking charge of the situation.

"It was very upsetting. Some of the girls started crying." In fact, she, too, burst into tears when she got home and her husband asked how it went.

What had been a great night was blighted by what appears to have been an act of senseless cruelty. Vered said she doesn't like to be the bearer of bad news.

"I'd rather read good news, but I felt I had to say something about this. I hope the schools can do something about talking to kids about treating animals with respect."

Bunny pays deadly price for Halloween prank

Richmond News
Friday, November 02, 2007

The Editor,

I am deeply upset and outraged at what I came across on Halloween evening.

My children and I and a group of their friends went trick or treating and then decided to go to the fireworks display at Minoru Park.

So we took a short cut through the park adjoining Brighouse elementary school. We noticed a group of teenagers that appeared to be letting off fire crackers. I was concerned because they were very close to the school. They let off another fire cracker and they all ran away as we approached them.

It was then that we noticed something on the ground -- to my utter horror and dismay it was a dead rabbit that had obviously become the victim of these teenagers. It had been literally blown up by the firecracker/s!

I was shocked by this senseless act of cruelty.

To whoever did this, if you perhaps read this or if you know who did this -- this is not a Halloween prank or a joke but obviously the act of a very sick, sadistic person/people.

You need help and my only consolation is I believe in karma and this will come back to you/them. How could anyone hurt an innocent and defenseless bunny, even if it was already dead? You need to respect all living creatures, both in life and in death.

I was very sad that my children and their friends had to witness and see such a tragic and barbaric event on an evening that was supposed to be a fun-filled night.

I hope those individuals responsible will do some soul-searching and realize that this kind of behaviour is sick and that they need help.

It saddens and worries me to know that these people are living here amongst us!

Unnecessary abuse against all animals should not be tolerated. Animals were put on this earth to live just like us and they do not deserve to be killed for or tortured by people with no hearts. Animals deserve to live and be cared for.

There should be harsher punishments for people who abuse their animals or pets. Animals cannot protect themselves against us, it is our duty to protect them.

If anyone knows who did this senseless, heinous crime please do the right thing and come forward and report to the police.

Merle Vered

We cannot close our eyes to this horrific crime

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Saturday, 3 November 2007, at 5:30 p.m.

In Response To: Teens blow up bunny in Richmond (Lavone Zeviar)

November 3, 2007

Re: Bunny pays deadly price for Halloween prank
Editor, Richmond News

This cowardly act of unspeakable cruelty perpetrated upon a defenseless little rabbit is beyond a doubt much more than a juvenile prank. Intentional and malicious anti-social behaviours by individuals such as these mindless thugs ought to be of grave concern to all of us. Numerous studies have shown that kids who derive enjoyment from committing atrocities toward animals are likely to be violent to humans as well.

I cannot imagine the pain and suffering this rabbit endured and sincerely hope these teens are apprehended. We simply cannot close our eyes to this horrific crime.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver

Richmond News: Cruel Halloween prank appalls readers

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Tuesday, 6 November 2007, at 8:22 a.m.

Cruel Halloween prank appalls readers

Richmond News
Published: Tuesday, November 06, 2007

This cowardly act of unspeakable cruelty perpetrated upon a defenseless little rabbit is much more than a juvenile prank.

Intentional and malicious anti-social behaviours by individuals such as these mindless thugs ought to be of grave concern to all of us.

Numerous studies have shown that kids who derive enjoyment from committing atrocities toward animals are likely to be violent to humans as well.

I cannot imagine the pain and suffering this rabbit endured and sincerely hope these teens are apprehended. We simply cannot close our eyes to this horrific crime.

Carmina Gooch,
North Vancouver

Cruel Halloween prank appalls readers

Richmond News
Published: Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The sadistic killers who participated in this cruel and deadly attack on an innocent and defenseless rabbit need to be caught. Research has shown that there is a definite correlation between cruelty to animals and violent crimes against humans.

I cannot erase from my mind the sheer terror and hell this rabbit must have felt before his or her life finally ended.

Terry Roberge,
North Vancouver

Don't dismiss suffering

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Saturday, 10 November 2007, at 6:27 a.m.

In Response To: Richmond News: Cruel Halloween prank appalls readers (Carmina Gooch)

Don't dismiss suffering

Richmond News
Published: Friday, November 09, 2007

The Editor,

Re: "Dead rabbit horrifies mom," the News, Nov. 2.

Regarding this cruel Halloween prank, let's not forget the animal that suffered.

Understandably, people are horrified that such acts of unspeakable cruelty toward animals often translate itself into human cruelty or abuse. But why is it that in our society, many people cannot react to or understand another living being's suffering unless it is compared directly to its effect on a human being?

For the rabbits in Richmond, the city and many of its citizens had no real concern for the feral rabbit population's welfare until it hit the farmers in the pocketbook. Why does our society dismiss the suffering of another living being until it affects them directly? How did we become so uncaring toward other living beings? Our solution is to get rid of the "problem" only once we become affected.

I commend the woman who brought the story of the rabbit forward. Hopefully, it will not have died in vain.

Lisa Hutcheon,

Ban on bunny sales urged

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, at 5:47 a.m.

Ban on bunny sales urged

Eve Edmonds
Richmond News

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The bunnies are coming, warns Lisa Hutcheon of the Small Animal Rescue Society of B. C.

Richmond should not wait for another population explosion before it implements a bylaw banning the sale of rabbits and small animals, she says.

Hutcheon says bunnies are often purchased as " starter pets" for a child. But when that child gets bored or the animal - if it's an unneutered male - starts spraying, the bunny is stuck in a box and dropped at an elementary school in the false hope that another kid will take it home.

Richmond's rabbit population in the spring of 2006 was so large that council approved a cull.

" There were 4,000 to 5,000 of them just south of Steveston Highway," said Coun. Harold Steves. They were causing thousands of dollars in crop damage, he said. Farmer Bill Zylmans claimed he lost $ 20,000 on his pumpkin crop alone.

The cull was scheduled for the fall of 2006, but by that time nature took care of the problem with disease and starvation.

The crisis passed and the issue was dropped, until now, said Hutcheon.

BC pet store industry seems to not only be alive and well, but thriving *LINK* *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Tuesday, 4 December 2007, at 11:55 a.m.

Clearly the message not to buy pets as Christmas gifts hasn't reached everybody. Breeders are advertising puppies as the ideal gift, people are posting on Craigslist looking to surprise their loved one with a kitten, and Noah's Pet Ark in the Park Royal Shopping Centre if offering to hold your purchase until December 24th.

On today's visit, an assortment of baby rabbits, including Holland Lops and Netherland Dwarfs were going for $50.00 and Lionheads for $60.00. Domestic kittens were selling for $250.00 and assorted breeds of puppies were over $1000.00. At $1100.00 each, the Shih Tzu's have all been spoken for. There's a ferret left, though, for anybody wanting to fork out $250.00.

And so you have it, the pet industry seems to not only be alive and well, but thriving. At least for this West Vancouver retailer.


Vernon: Bunnies hopping over to a new shelter

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Thursday, 6 December 2007, at 6:13 p.m.

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.

Interior B.C. cities on brink of bunny boom

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Friday, 7 December 2007, at 7:15 p.m.

In Response To: Vernon: Bunnies hopping over to a new shelter (Carmina Gooch)

CBC News
December 7, 2007

Interior B.C. cities on brink of bunny boom
'People drop them off next to us. They run all over our lawn. They dig everything up'

Several cities in the Okanagan have a cute little problem that many residents think is getting out of control.

In Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon, bunnies are everywhere, grazing along the side of major highways, hopping down city streets and just passing the time on neighbourhood lawns.

The problem is at its worst in residential north Kelowna, where the furry creatures are digging up the grass and eating trees in George Keim's front yard.

Keim told CBC News that he lived in his house for 13 years without a rabbit problem, then "all of a sudden, one year, bang! We've got rabbits!"

The problem got so bad last year, there were between 40 and 60 rabbits in his yard on any given day, Keim said. Keim said he won't let his grandson play on the front lawn because rabbit feces are everywhere.

Recently, the residents on his street pooled their money and installed a fence between the neighbourhood and a nearby vacant lot, which is home to many of the rabbits. But even with the wire fence, rabbits managed to get through.

Now Keim wants the city to act. "The city has to do something. I phone, I can't get no answers from nobody."

Another neighbour, Jason Stotes, agreed it is time the municipal government stepped in.

"I would like them to take some control over the rabbits. People drop them off next to us. They run all over our lawn. They dig everything up. Our community, we put up a fence to keep them out of here, and it doesn't seem to be working," Stotes said.

If nothing is done, the situation could get worse, according to some experts. A rabbit breeder from Summerland, Roxane Woldenga, estimated there could be almost 5,000 rabbits running wild in the Kelowna area.

"Right now, Kelowna's population is at a critical-mass point. It's contained by roads or buildings. However, the rabbits have now reached a population they have no choice but to migrate outwards…. It will be almost exponential expansion."

She has warned the city of Kelowna that the bunny population has reached a critical point, and she said local authorities need to trap and relocate the animals before the population gets right out of control.

"If they start spreading into farmland, the Okanagan will be overwhelmed," Woldenga said. "The European domestic rabbit isn't meant to live feral in our urban society. In the urban setting, there's not enough food. They will eat their way to the next field, and the one after that."

A female can give birth every 31 days, having about seven bunnies in each litter, bumping the population up from two to 70 in a year, Woldenga said.

She said she understands why city officials are reluctant to take strong measures to control the rabbit population.

"We were raised on images of Bugs Bunny, Thumper and the Velveteen Rabbit. It must be political suicide to be seen signing the death warrants for these little bunnies. The bunny killer! Who wants to be seen as that?

"If these were snakes, we wouldn't be having this conversation. They would have been trapped years ago!"

'Rabbit relocation'

So instead of a cull, Woldenga is advocating a program of "rabbit relocation." She said the bunnies should be rounded up, separated by gender and then relocated to live out the rest of their lives, without the opportunity to reproduce.

The City of Kelowna has hired a consultant to study the rabbit population and make recommendations. But parks manager Joe Creron maintained it's not the city's responsibility to cull or control the rabbits.

"The city is responsible for its park land, and we should take care of that, but the private owners are responsible for their own private property," Creron said. "So if they have a rabbit problem on their property, they should take care of that."

"I think the [property owner] goes to a pest company, the pest company will help trap them. It's no different than mice," Creron said. "We all have a responsibility here, and the government can't do everything for everyone on their private property."

The city is also expecting some of the rabbits to die during the winter, and it's hoping that will cut down the population. The consultant will make a presentation to city council in the New Year.


The BIGGEST irony here is that they interview a BREEDER for the story

Posted By: Lisa Hutcheon
Sunday, 9 December 2007, at 10:00 a.m.

In Response To: Interior B.C. cities on brink of bunny boom (Carmina Gooch)

The BIGGEST irony here is that they interview a BREEDER for the story - to talk about over population of DOMESTIC rabbits. I can't believe the media didn't even put two and two together before they did the story.

There was NO mention of a creating bylaw that prevents pet stores from *selling* the rabbits to the people who then *dump* them. That would be BAD BUSINESS for the breeder. The topic was well avoided by her.

In typical breeder fashion, in order to "fix the problem" you must kill/cull/destroy the problem.....a problem she says is a result of careless human actions (perhaps breeding could be considered here?!!?!?)

And if she thinks two groups separated by same sex will fix the problem, she's delusional. First of all before doing that, they all have to be speutered. Unspayed females will fight and burrow out. Un-neutered males will neuter each other or worse, fight to the death.

How can someone, seriously, in good conscience know there is a rabbit problem, suggest killing them and yet continue to bring more into the world - many destined to become part of the problem once again somewhere down the road.

All of this just makes my head spin.

TRACS package to the city in support of a sterilization bylaw

Posted By: TRACS
Monday, 10 December 2007, at 12:24 p.m.

In Response To: Kelowna is interested in a rabbit sterilization bylaw *LINK* (TRACS)

1) a sterlilization bylaw (ideally, we'd like the pet stores to not sell any live animals whatsoever, but the city is looking for the "easier sell", so we will go along with that because it will result in the same end....a prohibition on selling unsterilized rabbits will mean that someone along the way will need to cover the cost and logic tells us that won't happen)

2) an active spay/neuter/release and spay/neuter/adoption strategy for existing rabbits, keeping in mind:

-- a screening process to find qualified homes in the case of adoption
-- sterilized rabbits released in the same area where they were caught is an option and doesn't violate the B.C. Wildlife Act
-- sterilized rabbits cannot be legally released to outlying areas unless a permit is obtained from the B.C. govt. (the city could obtain one)
-- there is one available land parcel of 160 acres where rabbits have been released in the past; the owner has for years taken homeless rabbits and released them on her property to live the free life; she feeds them and they have sheds to burrow under
-- risk of predation if released to an acreage, as opposed to risk of predation as well as being run over, poisoned, etc. in the city since rabbits are frequent breeders, a humane strategy would include protection of small babies in burrows--no capture of lactating females; instead, focus on capture of males first as well as juvenile rabbits

Kelowna seeking help with its bunny bonanza

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Wednesday, 23 January 2008, at 4:46 p.m.

Kelowna seeking help with its bunny bonanza
Pets released to fend for themselves doing a bit too well

Frank Luba
The Province

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bunnies have become a big bother in Kelowna.

Unlike the "wascally wabbit" immortalized in Bugs Bunny cartoons, the Okanagan variety are primarily pets that have been released into the wild.

They've been doing what comes naturally -- eating, defecating and reproducing.

The situation is serious enough to warrant a report to Kelowna's city council, which voted on Monday to pass the problem on to the Central Okanagan Regional District.

Kelowna pays the district for animal control, mainly dealing with dogs, but now wants that responsibility expanded to the rapidly reproductive rodents and other wildlife that cause complaints.

Among the options are bylaws to prevent people from feeding the rabbits, prohibiting the sale of unsterilized rabbits, trapping and sterilizing the rabbits and, the final solution, culling them.

Killing the bunnies is unacceptable to Sinikka Crosland of The Responsible Animal Care Society.

"People love bunnies," said Crosland. "They're wonderful. Why cull them if there's a humane choice?"

The humane choice is to trap the rabbits and sterilize them, at $40-$60 per animal, Crosland said.

"It's a huge project."

A biologist who studied the problem for the city saw about 30 rabbits in the Enterprise area last February. The number had grown to 650 by June and even higher by late summer.

Hotels and motels are unhappy their landscaping is being chewed up. Residents say their gardens are being eaten and their yards are littered with rabbit refuse.

More concern for flowers than the rabbits

Posted By: Lisa Hutcheon
Thursday, 24 January 2008, at 4:43 p.m.

In Response To: Kelowna seeking help with its bunny bonanza (Carmina Gooch)

Yes - I am sure that I am sounding like a broken record BUT......

*Hotels and motels are *unhappy* their landscaping is being chewed up. Residents say their gardens are being eaten and their yards are littered with rabbit refuse.*

I wonder if the rabbit would be *uphappy* if it knew it was on the *kill* list....but it sounds like it wouldn't really matter because it's ALL about the FLOWERS.

I find it amusing that people can respect life in one form such as a FLOWER yet have no regard for another living being like a RABBIT.

Petcetera still selling rabbits in stores outside the Lower Mainland

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Tuesday, 29 January 2008, at 8:42 a.m.

In Response To: More concern for flowers than the rabbits (Lisa Hutcheon)

Petcetera agreed to stop selling rabbits in all its BC stores by September 1, 2007 and instead serve as a satellite adoption centre for homeless rabbits taken in by the SPCA. This program has not been expanded to include stores outside the Lower Mainland.

One can still buy unsterilized baby bunnies that have been supplied by breeders and which, in all probability, will end up unwanted and abandoned within a few months.

Petcetera and the SPCA do have an arrangement

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, at 9:53 a.m.

In Response To: I thought the SPCA had an agreement with Petcetera? (Carolyn Harbor)

Amidst much media fanfare Petcetera and the BC SPCA announced in March of 2007 that they are working together to reduce the number of homeless and abandoned rabbits across the province. All rabbits’ sales should have ended by September 1st but evidently there are some "bumps in the road" that need to be worked out before the program is fully implemented.

Meanwhile, stores continue to sell unaltered baby bunnies while these two parties try to sort out their issues.

February is Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month *LINK* *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Friday, 1 February 2008, at 6:30 a.m.

The Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC and Pets In Need Society would like to remind you that February is Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month. Our ad can be seen in the February 7th edition of the North Shore Outlook.

Here is a link to CHBC TV coverage on the rabbit issue in Kelowna *LINK*

Posted By: Sinikka Crosland - TRACS
Sunday, 3 February 2008, at 9:24 a.m.

In Response To: Kelowna seeking help with its bunny bonanza (Carmina Gooch)

Here is a link to CHBC TV coverage on the rabbit issue in Kelowna:


In response to the above, I received this piece of good news from the B.C. Ministry of Environment: "...you will need a Wildlife Act permit to proceed with sterilization of the captured rabbits. We will work to expedite the permit application and the fee will be waived based on the fact your activities will be providing a benefit to wildlife." (Even rabbits with domestic roots are considered "wildlife" under the Act.)

We will also make a presentation to City Council (date pending), as they need to grant us adequate time to carry out our humane program properly. They need to put all lethal tools away. Some councillors have suggested feeding rabbits to the homeless. Another said that they could possibly be used for pet food. These suggestions, as well as employing trappers to kill them for any purpose, must be exposed as cruel and totally unnecessary.

If you haven't done so already, please send a note to mayorandcouncil@kelowna.ca . Please ask them not to mobilize any kind of lethal management strategy. Our project is a long-term one, and we need time to be able to carry it out effectively and humanely.

Sinikka Crosland, President
TRACS (The Responsible Animal Care Society)


Moving day for Kelowna's bunnies may happen sooner than anticipated

Posted By: Lavone Zeviar
Wednesday, 6 February 2008, at 8:25 a.m.

Permission to move bunnies fast tracked
by Rachael Kimola - Story: 37073
Feb 4, 2008 / 6:00 pm

Moving day for Kelowna's bunnies may happen sooner than anticipated.

An application for permission to capture the rabbits has been fast tracked by the Ministry of Fish and Wildlife.

Sinikka Crosland of The Responsible Animal Care Society, says she spoke with Ministry officials on Friday. "They have been very supportive, they want to fast track the permit to allow us to take the sterilized rabbits up to the property in Joe Rich," says Crosland.

She says under the Wildlife Act, rabbits are not allowed to be just relocated. "We may get permission to move them by the end of the week, instead of the four weeks like we originally thought it would take." Crosland says TRACS officials have been to the Joe Rich property and are pleased with what they saw.

"It's a good piece of land, a very suitable spot with compassionate people. We are already working on getting fencing together to keep the rabbits in the half acre parcel."

She says once they have permission from the Ministry, they can start capturing and sterilizing the rabbits before moving them to their new home.

A Facebook group called 'Save Kelowna's Bunnies' has been launched and currently has more than 430 members.

Seattle - rounded-up rabbits didn't survive in city's care

Posted By: Mary Konoplic
Thursday, 7 February 2008, at 10:30 a.m.

SEATTLE -- The controversial bunny round-up at Green Lake has turned deadly for more than a dozen of the little critters.

KIRO Team 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne uncovers how disease, stress and poor living conditions might be to blame.

The City of Seattle recently helped capture about 100 rabbits from the burrows around Green Lake. The plan was to sterilize them, then let the bunnies go into some sort of wild sanctuary.

However, an exclusive KIRO Team 7 Investigation discovers a good percentage of the animals didn't survive under the city's care.

Happy rabbits, paling around, with lots of fresh food and clean sawdust: This is the image Seattle Parks and the non-profit group Friends of Park Rabbits want you to see.

Dead rabbits and tax bills for "group cremation" of rabbits are things they would rather be kept quiet.

Herb Camet, who volunteered at the Discovery Park rabbit shelter in February, tells us he’s disappointed that after six months of animals in captivity, the city has still not released a single rabbit.

"It's not ethical. Not an ethical way to operate."

Camet filed a complaint about an infestation of rats, and a lack of bedding, heat, and medical attention for the rabbits he witnessed.

"Rabbits have definitely been killed. The only question is how many can we actually trace and find in the record, but rabbits have died there. They died from viruses. They died from the stress. They died from the conditions."

Despite documenting a "DOA rabbit in a box" and some broken heaters during extremely cold weather, city inspectors found no animal violations. Camet's complaint case was closed.

That's when the real trouble began. KIRO Team 7 Investigators have confirmed that a "hepatitis-like pathogen" spread rapidly through a building in March, sickening at least 19 rabbits, killing 11.

Seattle City Parks employee Barb DeCaro, who is in charge of rabbit relocation says it's a sad situation.

"It's not uncommon for rabbits to become very stressed out and succumb to all sorts of things, including sudden heart failure. This seems that it was some kind of pathogen. I don't know," DeCaro said.

A vet bill, turned in for one month’s rabbit services, lists necropsies performed on dead park rabbits and charges to taxpayers for several bulk cremations of bunnies. Still, the city plans to expand the rabbit round-ups to other city parks in the future.

DeCaro told KIRO Team 7 Investigators, "I think the program overall has gone very well. It is a good model of humane relocation."

Records, obtained by Camet (and shared with us) show the rabbit death toll may go beyond the mysterious virus kill. Seattle police noted "two newborn rabbits are now dead" following a scuffle at the shelter between a volunteer and a citizen trying to take pictures. We also uncovered a "dead rabbit" photo linked to an official investigation into conditions at the Discovery Park rabbit shelter.

All of it is sickening to Camet.

"In the process of doing this mismanaged and ill-planned project, it has killed rabbits or injured rabbits or abused rabbits. What kind of city project funds this?"

Defaced flier asking for volunteers for the Woodland Park Rabbit Rescue

Seattle parks officials tell KIRO Team 7 Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne that within weeks, they will be moving the rabbits. In the meantime, city e-mails indicate security has been stepped up. "Baby killer" markings have been written on a number of Rabbit Relocation flyers around Green Lake. The city has also noticed bloggers on the Animal Liberation Front Web site have been talking about this program, raising additional fears.

We have also uncovered e-mails between City Parks and public relations employees that show a plan to mislead the public via the media regarding the success of the Friends of the Park Rabbits project.

Seattle rabbit relocation effort was mired in the usual politics...

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Thursday, 7 February 2008, at 5:49 p.m.

In Response To: Our rescue manages a herd of rabbits between 40-50 at any time (Lisa Hutcheon)

This relocation effort was mired in the usual politics, personality conflicts, and bungling bureaucracy well before it made headlines. Rabbit Meadows Sanctuary, operated by the non-profit House Rabbit Society, began working with Woodland Park in Seattle to relocate the bunnies in March of 2006 but after only eight days the agreement was terminated. "Internal problems" were exposed to the press by Sandi Ackerman, coordinator of the effort, so Seattle City Parks and local government abruptly ended the partnership.

Among the issues was the fact that the bottom floor of the building at Magnuson Park had been rented to the Drug Enforcement Agency to hold "training exercises" while on the top floor the rescued rabbits awaiting medical treatment were being housed. Sandi then made the decision to get the bunnies out of the building and relocated to a safe place.

More on this fiasco and human meddling can be found at: http://www.woodlandparkrabbits.org/IntheNews.html

Bunny advocate featured in North Shore Outlook *LINK* *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Thursday, 14 February 2008, at 6:43 a.m.

Bunny advocate
By Justin Beddall - North Shore Outlook - February 14, 2008

Bunny Love - Carmina Gooch poses with pet rabbits Newton (l-r), Cotton and Nicholas. The woman is the founder of the Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC and has more than 40 of the abandoned animals in her North Van home. Daniel Pi photo

Carmina Gooch’s family of pets has, through the years, multiplied like, um, rabbits.

The interior of Carmina Gooch’s tidy Indian River-area home has an overarching bunny motif: from fridge magnets and paintings to kitschy egg holders and mantelpiece figurines to rabbit-festooned throw-blankets.

But, it’s not only the home’s décor that hints at Gooch’s obsession. There’s also a subtle, “farmy” scent that wafts through her house. That smell isn’t so surprising when you consider she keeps a 40-kilo bale of hay downstairs (purchased regularly in Aldergrove) to feed her rapidly multiplying family of rabbits. Gooch, founder of the Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC, has, since the early 1990s, been a fierce protector – and collector – of bunnies.

At the moment, she and common-law husband Terry, also a pet advocate, share their home with 40 rabbits – all spayed, neutered and vet-checked.

Gooch has a soft spot for rabbits. They are, after all, prey animals, she explains. And not just in the wild: Rabbits are raised for meat, turned into coats and used for science experimentation.

“I feel sorry for them,” she says, sitting on her living room couch with three bunnies.

Gooch says domestic bunnies are typically “impulse” pet-store buys and most, despite cute floppy ears and fluffy tails, end up abandoned within six months.

Usually, they are dumped in parks. Those that end up at animal shelters don’t fare much better. Adult rabbits are hard to place, and many become “lifers.” “Nobody adopts them.”

The lucky ones end up with Gooch.

“People think they’re easy to look after, they just aren’t,” she explains. “I’m not advocating for them as pets. It (takes) a special type of person if you want a rabbit.”

She never planned on an extended bunny family. Then-boyfriend Terry surprised her with a pet rabbit in 1992 – Mocha, a Dutch-breed bunny, she recalls.

Shortly after she thought: this rabbit needs a friend. Then came rabbit number two.

Not long afterwards, Gooch become active in animal advocacy. The kind-hearted North Vancouver woman started “independent rescues,” – that is, taking in abandoned or animal shelter rabbits.

By bunny number three, Terry kept saying: You can’t get another after that. After about the ninth or 10th rabbit, he just gave up, she says, smiling.

By 1998 the couple had 46 rescued rabbits living in their house.

Beside taking in rabbits, she’s also been a vocal advocate, most notably initiating a bulk letter-writing campaign to get Petcetera to stop selling rabbits, which ended up as a cover story in the Canadian edition of Best Friends magazine. Gooch also spearheaded the creation of outdoor and indoor bunny pens at the DNV animal shelter.

She volunteers regularly at the shelter, along with caring for her own rabbits, which is a full-time job.

She gets up at 6 o’clock each morning to clean her bunny sanctuary, scooping poop and rotating the bunnies into different-sized cages with new roommates. “I can’t leave them all together,” she explains.

She feeds her bunnies hay, pellets, Romaine lettuce and carrots. “They like the tops better than the carrots.”

Her routine is repeated at 3 and 7 p.m.

Not too long ago, Gooch had 50 rabbits, which meant two upstairs bedrooms were converted into rabbit hostels.

“This (40 rabbits) I can handle – that (50 rabbits) was too much,” she says.

Of course, her rabbit advocacy work hasn’t come without sacrifice. Her last vacation was back in 1994, when she had only four rabbits.

Her sister rabbit-sat but said afterwards, “We won’t be doing that again.”

And while her family may not be willing to look after her furry brood, they’re extremely proud of her animal advocacy work.

“They’re glad I’m doing advocacy work,” she says. “They think it’s good.”

February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month. To learn more about the Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC or make a donation, go to www.rabbitadvocacy.com.  






"Pet" peeve with Petcetera

Posted By: Lucy Cochrane
Sunday, 24 February 2008, at 9:40 p.m.

This morning I received a Petcetera customer "newsletter" in my email box. In it Petcetera states:

- they are "committed to helping reduce pet over population, that's why none of the stores sell cats or dogs",

- they set up "cat and dog adoption centres...through arrangements with local animal shelters",

...very commendable efforts. I'm certainly all for saving dogs and cats and finding them good homes. Kudos to Petcetera.

Petcetera's newsletter continues on to state many things, statistics among them, but nowhere in that newsletter do they state they are still selling rabbits, birds and rodents in the retail section of their stores.

On January 28th, 2008 the Kamloops Petcetera had a sale on bunnies. A cute little (unaltered) bunny could be yours for only $34.96!! That very same day, Kamloops SPCA's pet adoption page listed five bunnies that needed homes!!! What happened to Petcetera's "committment to helping reduce pet over population through arrangements made with local animal shelters"?

Recently, CBC radio aired a segment on the massive rabbit population explosion in the Kelowna, Winfield and Vernon areas. It is such a big problem farmers worry about their crops, homeowners about the foundations of their outbuildings and houses, while local golf courses will have to modify the rules of the game due to new "holes" on their golf greens. All this courtesy of the little burrowing bunnies released to the wild once the novelty wears off and owners tire of them. Run free little rabbit, run free. Better run fast though, angry property owners aren't talking rehoming.

Every year the public is told about domestic rabbit population explosions on University Campus' properties, golf courses, even grassy medians on busy city streets aren't spared. Come on Petcetera (and all pet retail outlets) be responsible citizens and step up to the plate for all animals. You've proven you can do it.

I was going to address my questions to Petcetera, but could not find an email address to respond to only a generic form to fill out if I had any questions regarding inanimate products.

The following is the Newsletter email from Petcetera dated February 19, 2008:

"Petcetera is committed to helping reduce pet over population. That's why none of the stores sell cats or dogs. Instead, through arrangements made with local animal shelters, Petcetera has set up a satellite cat and dog adoption centre in each store, with the proceeds of every adoption going to the local non-profit animal shelter.
Petcetera is pleased to announce the excellent performance of our P.A.W.S. (Petcetera Animal Welfare Society) Adoption Centres, and our ability to contribute to reducing euthanasia rates in
Canada. Since opening the first Petcetera location in November 1997, Petcetera has found homes for over 49,526 cats and dogs and raised over $5,065,280 for animal welfare.
Petcetera has created a unique haven inside each one of our stores where we can host companion animals from that community's local non profit organizations. These animal have been given a clean bill of health, and now they need only two things: a good home, and tender loving care. Can you provide a happy home? The fees charged at Petcetera are the same as at your local non profit organizations. Adoption fees may include the following: an ID tattoo, a full veterinary examination within 3 business days of adoption, a spay/neuter certificated valued at $50 and a complete Petcetera take home adoption booklet valued at over $110."

So much for corporate responsibility *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Monday, 25 February 2008, at 4:04 p.m.

In Response To: Lower mainland PetCeteras have SPCA bunnies for adoption (Mia Riback)

Petcetera has been contacted on numerous occasions by animal welfare groups and the general public requesting a response as to why intact baby bunnies are still being sold in retail outlets across Canada. With four more stores slated to open in 2008 it is evident that exploiting lives for profits is the motive, not a commitment to reducing pet overpopulation, as Mr Urbani, President and CEO, would have you think.

Or is it that some lives are more expendable than others? Abandoned rabbits are found in municipalities across the country and thousands of others are killed by so-called shelters simply because there's no room to accommodate the multitudes of unwanted.

Mark Takhar, manager of the BC SPCA Vancouver/Burnaby branch, in a recent press release, stated that the society is challenged to find homes for hundreds of abandoned or stray rabbits. In a three-year period ending September 2007, close to 2,500 rabbits were admitted to branches across the province. How many of those were transferred to other groups or bought out because they were under threat of "euthanasia" or sitting on Death Row. How many perfectly healthy rabbits' lives were destroyed by the BC SPCA, not because they were "beyond medical help" nor "highly aggressive" as Mr Daniell, CEO would have one believe? And how many others, dumped into our municipalities, met their fate by "gunshot euthanasia", a practice which meets with SPCA approval, provided it's done correctly.

The BC SPCA and Petcetera have a business partnership. An excerpt from the original contract says that both parties agree and do not approve of "indiscriminate or mass breeding of pet animals destined for the marketplace." Excuse me?

Mr Urbani knows all too well that baby rabbits are impulse buys destined for disposal, yet company flyers, complete with picture, continue to advertise their availability. It's a never-ending cycle, the pockets of breeders being lined and the market over-saturated. In fact, Petcetera's Plus Warehouse Club caters to breeders, giving them the same benefits of "Plus" members as well as an additional 10% discount on merchandise.

So much for corporate responsibility, the well-being of rabbits, and this company's "mission to reduce euthanasia of homeless animals."





Wham, Bam, Thank You Dan: Ratting Out the Rabbits?

Posted By: Sue Collard
Date: Monday, 25 February 2008, at 4:33 p.m.

In Response To: "Pet" peeve with Petcetera (Lucy Cochrane)

Wham, Bam, Thank You Dan: Ratting Out the Rabbits?

When the BC SPCA and Petcetera announced in March 2007 they would be working on a program to place adoptable rabbits in Petcetera locations, when the SPCA indicated in its March 2007 newsletter that this program would be in place across BC by September 2007, when the March 28, 2007 article in the Vancouver Sun stated that rabbits sales in Petcetera stores would be phased out in Lower Mainland locations ... well, let's just say I was guardedly optimistic that some small, positive moment forward in rabbit welfare would be achieved.

Fast forwarding to February 2008, past all the abandoned and feral rabbits in Kelowna, Nanaimo, Richmond, Vernon and Victoria what do we find but Petcetera still selling bunnies, maybe not in the Lower Mainland but certainly in Nanaimo and .... well, some of the other places that appear to have feral rabbit populations or dumped rabbit issues.

Perhaps the SPCA and I were for once sharing a common fantasy when we imagined Petcetera phasing out rabbit sales ACROSS BC. I can see no reason for the SPCA to make a public statement around Petcetera's replacing rabbits for sale with adoptable rabbits across the Province unless they had grounds to do so. Perhaps Nanaimo and those other Petcetera locations have secretly seceded from the province.

Whatever the reason for Dan Urbani's continued sale of rabbits in Petcetera locations (and why is it, Dan, that with Petcetera's commitment to reducing pet overpopulation issues and much vaunted PAWS Program rabbits never seem to quite make it officially into PAWS?), whatever the reason for the SPCA's apparent silence on this issue, with February being Adopt a Rescued Rabbit month and Easter on the horizon, we are once again asking you to:


Unless you are willing to make that 10 year commitment to a live bunny, eat chocolate rabbits and don't buy a live animal, get a stuffed toy. Let's face it, the chocolate will last about as long as Petcetera's commitment to rabbit welfare, and the toy will last longer.

Why hasn't Petcetera lived up to its promise?

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Tuesday, 26 February 2008, at 5:19 p.m.

In Response To: Wham, Bam, Thank You Dan: Ratting Out the Rabbits? (Sue Collard)

Petcetera announced in March 2007 that rabbit sales would stop in all BC stores by September 1, 2007. So why haven't they? For quite some time we've heard that this pilot project with the BC SPCA hasn't been going smoothly. Information from Petcetera's head office has confirmed that a review is expected within the next few months. At that time, the issues, problems and logistics of expanding the program to the other BC outlets will be examined.

Bunny Butt is on the (Bottom) Line

Posted By: Sue Collard <susancollard@shaw.ca>
Wednesday, 27 February 2008, at 9:33 p.m.

Why, after a year, are the SPCA and Petcetera still discussing "issues, problems and logistics"? Isn't a year enough? Can this be the typical, empty rhetoric we have come to know and love, a year-long, extended "No comment" from both parties?

Let's face it, the logistics of implementing a rabbit adoption program can't be greater than, say, that of having cats as part of the PAWS Program, can it? Can it really be any harder than not selling puppies and kittens?

And frankly, I am confused by both the SPCA's lack of open discussion on the issue, and some curious omissions in their adoptable animals listings.

When I searched the SPCA website for adoptable rabbits on February 27th, in those places known to have feral rabbit issues (Kelowna, Nanaimo, Richmond, Vernon and Victoria), I found only one yielded any results. Kelowna listed approximately 20 rabbits for adoption. Where are all the other rabbits? Is the SPCA really indicating that there are NO rabbits available for adoption at any of those other locations? One place we know that they're not is the local Petceteras.

Now I must admit that, being a simple person, I only did a "simple" search. Maybe potential rabbit adopters have to engage in a series of SPCA mediated online "quests" before achieving their goal of saving a rabbit's life. First find the rabbit. Then save its life.

I find this dearth of rabbits on SPCA sites hard to believe as the combined number of rabbits currently listed with the BC-wide S.A.R.S is in excess of 120, and the Vancouver based VRRA has approximately 70 rabbits on their site. That's nearly 200 rabbits right there.

Which brings us right back to the beginning. With that many rabbits floating round, isn't it time the SPCA and Petcetera actually got this pilot project off of the ground and expanded it across BC. The need is there, I'm sure the SPCA is willing, which leaves .... Petcetera.

So how about it Dan, put your bottom line aside and save some bunny butt. The bunnies will love your for it, the public will like you for it, and heck, even I might find it in me to say something nice for a change.

Petcetera's blatant promotion of cute little Easter bunnies *LINK* *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Thursday, 28 February 2008, at 7:05 p.m.

In Response To: Bunny Butt is on the (Bottom) Line (Sue Collard)

Petcetera, socially and morally irresponsible, year after year. Once again, flaunting cute little baby bunnies for Easter, right on the front page of the current flyer. Mr. Urbani, its President and CEO, claims to be committed to reducing pet populations but his actions prove otherwise. Petcetera doesn't deserve your business; please be a voice for the rabbits. Do something, write a letter to Dan Urbani and the SPCA and your municipal councils, until this retailer stops selling rabbits!

Petcetera President Dan Urbani: danu@petcetera.ca
BC SPCA CEO Craig Daniell: info@spca.bc.ca

http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/pdf_files/Petcetera Easter flyer 08.pdf

Progressive animal welfare? I think not

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Friday, 22 February 2008, at 10:21 a.m.

In Response To: Craig Daniell - Attack on SPCA full of misinformation (AAS)

Mr. Daniell, CEO of the BC SPCA certainly can't be speaking about rabbits when he states that this agency is known for its "progressive work in animal welfare." Rabbits kept in lab cages at the Vancouver branch from 2004-2006 with no time out for exercise, a feature story in the Winter 2006 edition of "Bark", the kids magazine, recognizing rabbits as the "multiplying champion", yet to this day not sterilizing all their rabbits prior to rehoming, and yet another article stating two hours daily outside a cage is sufficient.

Then of course there's Penny Stone, general manager of the Victoria SPCA, saying in a March 2007 article from the Times Colonist that rabbits are "cage animals."

And let's not overlook all the rabbits that I bought out or were transferred to me and other rabbit rescue groups because they were under threat of "euthanasia" or sitting on Death Row. Perfectly healthy rabbits, not "beyond medical help", nor "highly aggressive" as Mr. Daniell would have one believe. And finally, lest we forget, all the individual lives gone, the ones nobody saved. The homeless, now dead.

Progressive animal welfare? I think not.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver

Progressive animal welfare? I think not *LINK*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Monday, 3 March 2008, at 12:50 p.m.

In Response To: Roslyn Cassells's Soundoff about the SPCA is right on the mark (Will Ramage)

Published: Monday, March 03, 2008

Craig Daniell certainly can't be speaking about rabbits when he states that the SPCA is known for its "progressive work in animal welfare." Rabbits were kept in lab cages at the Vancouver branch from 2004 to 2006 with no time out for exercise. Although rabbits have been described as the "multiplying champion", they aren't sterilized before being rehomed.

All the rabbits that I brought out or were transferred to me and other rabbit rescue groups were sitting on Death Row. They were perfectly healthy rabbits, not "beyond medical help" nor "highly aggressive" as Daniell would have one believe.

Progressive animal welfare? I think not.

Carmina Gooch
North Vancouver


Don't even think about it - our Easter campaign *LINK* *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Tuesday, 4 March 2008, at 4:43 p.m.

PSA Easter Campaign

Pets In Need Society and the Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC bring you the following PSAs.

Our ad for the Agassiz-Harrison Observer on March 5, 2008 and on March 6th in the North Shore Outlook.

Click on the link below to view our other ad in the Vancouver Sun, March 5, 2008 and on March 7th in The Province.


Numerous rabbits, chickens and ducks also found dead

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Saturday, 15 March 2008, at 5:04 p.m.

In Response To: The SPCA once again rides to the rescue (Char Olson)

Last updated at 9:25 AM on 13/03/08

Men charged under Animal Act after seizure of horses

Two men have been charged with allowing animals to be in distress after 100 emaciated horses, and dozens of rabbits, chickens and goats were seized from a farm near Andrew, Alta.

Alberta SPCA officials say Axel Hinz-Schleuter and Dale Huber, who were both living on the property north of Edmonton, each face a dozen charges, including causing an animal to be in distress and failure to care for the animals.

They're expected to appear in provincial court in Vegreville, Alta., on April 21.

Peace officers raided the property on Feb. 26, and found that 27 horses had already starved to death, along with numerous rabbits, chickens and ducks.

Vancouver Parks Board: Stop Bunny Exploitation and Clean Up the Petting Zoo! *LINK* *PIC*

Posted By: Lifeforce Foundation
Saturday, 22 March 2008, at 7:45 a.m.

The following letter and a follow up detailed letter of the Lifeforce investigation was sent to the Vancouver Parks Board, Mayor and Councillors and Vancouver Coastal Health. In addition, Lifeforce will be releasing a 55 page report on Petting Zoos in the near future.

Emails: Parks Board Commissioners - pbcomment@vancouver.ca

Mayor and Council - mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca


March 19, 2008


To: Vancouver Parks Board Commissioners and Vancouver Mayor and Councillors

From: Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Director

Re: Please Stop Bunny Exploitation and Clean Up the Petting Zoo!

Animal Exploitation
During a recent Lifeforce investigation of the Stanley Park Farmyard we were shocked to see seven bunnies treated like props in an approximate 20” x 40” window display. It is not only cruel to keep them in such a small space with kids banging on the windows but it also promotes the purchase of such animals at Easter. After Easter when the novelty wears off they are often disposed of by such practises as illegal dumping in public parks.

The Park Board Easter Poster, March 21 – 24th, states “All Day Hunts… Meet the new Baby Bunnies, Goats, Lambs and Chicks.”

The bunnies should be immediately removed from the window display. The bunnies and any other baby animals must be provided with large enclosures with private areas such as “dens” for the bunnies.

The bunnies were obtained to be on loan from Aldor Acres in Fort Langley where they run petting zoos and breed animals to get the cute little babies to profit from. At the end of the season he sells the animals to the Fraser Valley Auction (FVA) that is a horrible place where sick, injured animals are routinely mistreated and killed for food. This is the same place where Lifeforce exposed the abuse of previous Stanley Park petting zoo animals in the 80s. At that time the Vancouver Parks Board agreed to stop auctioning them off. However, doing any business with animal dealers that dump the animals at FVA should also have been part of the prohibition.

Human Health Risks
In addition, to the animal exploitation the “Farmyard” was contaminated with animal feces and urine that pose a major health threat to people petting the animals, touching gates and walking through the feces and pools of urine.

People visiting petting zoos must be aware of methods to prevent serious infections and illness. Lifeforce has found that many operators try to downplay the threats to humans. Health Agencies can only suggest guidelines because there are no regulations. Petting zoos are hotbeds of serious pathogens, including E. coli and salmonella bacteria. Numerous children have been severely sickened as a result of visiting animal displays, and some have even died. Those who come in contact with E. coli can develop bloody diarrhea, anemia, chronic kidney failure, or neurological impairments such as seizures or strokes.

There must be more frequent hosing and sanitizing, adequate supervision, more signage with instructions to wash hands and change shoes/clothing and more hand washing stations (as per Fraser Health Authority and BCCDC Guidelines). The animals’ hay was contaminated and must not be dispersed on the hardtop. A full report of the numerous problems that we found at yours and several other petting zoo operations will be forthcoming.

Please contact us immediately to discuss ways to remedy these violations of animal rights and human safety. Please stop treating animals as commodities and please help protect people from health risks.

I can be reached at 604-649-5258 or lifeforcesociety@hotmail.com

Lifeforce Foundation >>


Rabbits at Kilby Historic Site in deplorable conditions *LINK* *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Saturday, 22 March 2008, at 4:54 p.m.

In Response To: Vancouver Parks Board: Stop Bunny Exploitation and Clean Up the Petting Zoo! *LINK* *PIC* (Lifeforce Foundation)

Aldor Acres in Langley, Queen's Park in New Westminster, and Kilby Heritage Site in Harrison Mills are all exploiting animals at their petting zoos and all have Easter events planned. Every Spring families are invited to meet the newest baby animals specifically bred as attractions to the paying public.

What we saw at the Kilby Site in 2007 was downright disgusting. Rabbits kept in tiny, filthy hutches, and baby bunnies who all disappeared after the District of Kent Council had my concerns looked into. The Fraser Heritage Society, who operate the site for the District, never once responded. We drove by earlier this month and the same enclosures, with the same adult rabbits, were out on the lawn. It'll be interesting to see what it looks like tomorrow, Easter Sunday.

To read more: http://www.rabbitadvocacy.com/rabbits_of_kilby.htm

A little caring for the Kelowna rabbits *LINK*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Friday, 28 March 2008, at 4:32 p.m.

On March 18, 2008, both the Globe and Mail, "When Easter bunnies aren't so cute", and the Kelowna Daily Courier, "Bunny conundrum: to kill or not to kill", had articles on the controversy over what to do about exploding rabbit populations. These are domesticated rabbits that have been dumped into communities once they become unwanted. With a gestation period of one month it doesn't take long for colonies to establish themselves.

Kelowna Council is busy considering all options on how to handle the bunny issue. Business owners have complained that their landscaping has been destroyed and Councillor Hobson is worried about possible crop damage. Councillor Carol Gran earlier endorsed killing as the most "common sense" approach and said the cull should be put into perspective, adding that "we kill and butcher nice little calves, cows and chickens." After meeting with some Grade 3 students she's changed her mind, feeling it would set a bad example for the kids.

The debate continues, with council expected to make a decision next month, on which program should be endorsed and paid for by the city.

Kelowna Daily Courier
Published Friday, March 21, 2008

A little caring....

Human action is directly responsible for all the abandoned rabbits in Kelowna, and elsewhere.

Initially, Councillor Gran thought that because we kill and butcher animals like calves and chickens, we may as well kill homeless rabbits as well. It took some Grade 3 students to point out this thoughtless inhumanity before she changed her mind.

And Councillor Hobson's concern is crop damage. What about compassion and some common-sense legislation that would address the breeding and selling of unsterilized rabbits?

Reactive control measures are costly, both financially and in terms of innocent lives lost. Kindness to all creatures is perhaps a lesson we all need to learn.

Carmina Gooch
Rabbit Advocacy Group of B.C.,
North Vancouver


How one SPCA rabbit fared at Petcetera *LINK* *PIC*

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Wednesday, 2 April 2008, at 4:57 p.m.

The BC SPCA and Petcetera continue their controversial business partnership into 2008, which began back in 1997. While part of the deal was that dogs and cats wouldn't be sold, this didn't apply to a vast assortment of other caged animals. After much public pressure, it was announced in March 2007, that Petcetera was selling out its remaining stock of rabbits and that they would only adopt out animals from the SPCA. Through the P.A.W.S. program the SPCA branches were going to supply sterilized rabbits to all Petcetera outlets in BC. Breeders were put on notice.

However, not everything is going smoothly, and a year later the six stores outside the Lower Mainland still stock baby bunnies, keeping the breeders in business. Somehow, Mr. Urbani’s commitment to reducing homelessness and “euthanasia” doesn’t ring true.

There have been numerous complaints to both the BC SPCA and Petcetera regarding the inadequate care of the rabbits at a number of the stores, and out of sheer frustration, members of the rabbit rescue community have adopted some of them. The SPCA has pulled all its animals from the Richmond store, and Petcetera acknowledges that the issues, problems, and logistics of the program are under review.

Meanwhile, two rabbits from the Burnaby SPCA were recently put into the Rupert Street Petcetera store for adoption. Volunteers within the SPCA suggested to management that Martin, a black bunny, was not a suitable choice. Despite objections, he went. Over the course of several weeks, a network of rabbit advocates who monitor the stores, noticed that he was becoming overweight and stressed to the point of pulling out his fur. The SPCA was told and after repeated requests, on March 31st, the bunny was removed. The grey one remains.


Animal cruelty is a crime, not a "prank"

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Wednesday, 7 May 2008, at 6:56 a.m.

In Response To: Re: To my horror in the planted tree was a mutilated rabbit hung by its neck (Char Olson)

This is a despicable act of cruelty inflicted upon living beings by one or more cowardly little punks.
Both the public works superintendent and the manager of the SPCA referred to it as a "prank."

These rabbits suffered a horrendous death, one I believe that should be regarded as murder.

Save some sympathy for the lowly rabbit

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Saturday, 10 May 2008, at 6:23 a.m.

In Response To: Owners say dogs are the cat's meow: study. (Char Olson)

Save some sympathy for the lowly rabbit


Published: Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's no surprise that dogs are living more privileged and healthier lives than cats. They're at the top of the "pet" hierarchy.

Rabbits, which are also companion animals, fare even lower than cats. They're often an impulse buy, and not valued in the same way as dogs are. Usually a "starter pet," they're perceived as throwaway, and thoughtlessly discarded in under six months.

Do a media story on a dog being abused or shot at, and the letters of outrage and offers of help will pour in.

Society has no such sympathy for the lowly rabbit.


Rabbit Advocacy Group of B.C.
North Vancouver

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

Kelowna puts contract out on bunnies‘ heads

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Tuesday, 13 May 2008, at 4:18 p.m.

In Response To: $54,000 to kill the bunnies (Lisa Hutcheon)

City puts contract out on bunnies‘ heads
Ron Seymour - Kelowna Daily Courier

An unknown number of rabbits will be killed under a controversial bunny-control program approved Monday by Kelowna city council.

Council awarded a $54,000, one-year contract to EBB Environmental Consulting for a rabbit-control plan that includes both culling and live trapping.

“Let me assure council that we‘d like to see a minimal cull,” parks manager Joe Creron told council.

Councillors Norm Letnick, Brian Given, Colin Day and Andre Blanleil voted in favour of the accepting EBB‘s bid, which was the lowest of six received by the city.

Mayor Sharon Shepherd and Coun. Michele Rule were opposed, with both saying they were disappointed with the lack of specifics in the report from staff as to how, exactly, the control program would be carried out.

“The report was not very full of information,” Rule complained, and Shepherd termed it “unclear.”

Pest control supervisor Ian Wilson apologized for the lack of specifics regarding how the rabbits would be dealt with, but he said some of those details are still to be worked out.

In response to a question from Shepherd, Wilson said EBB Environmental Consulting had overseen a rabbit-control program in another city that involved the animals being killed.

Outside council chambers, Sinnika Crosland of The Responsible Animal Control Society accused the city of being “trigger happy” in its response to the rabbit situation.

Society supporters have already trapped more than 200 of the rabbits, Crosland said. The group would be willing to take any rabbits trapped by EBB, Crosland suggested.

“But we would expect some funding to do that,” she added, noting the cost of relocating rabbits to secure, sex-separated enclosures and caring for them for the rest of their lives.

There are said to be at least 2,000 wild rabbits in Kelowna. Most are concentrated along Enterprise Way, but colonies have been reported in other parts of the city.

The rabbits are a problem because they destroy landscaping and pose a threat to agricultural crops. Their burrowing action could also jeopardize utilities and destabilize building foundations, Wilson said.

The six rabbit-control programs were evaluated on the following basis: 50 per cent on cost, 30 per cent on the probability of success and 20 per cent on the applicant‘s experience in such matters.

Though he proposed that council accept EBB‘s bid, even Letnick said that he would rather “save the animals than kill the animals.” He proposed a second motion instructing staff to work with EBB on ways to minimize the cull and report back to council at a later date.

That motion passed unanimously. Councillors Barrie Clark, Robert Hobson and Carol Gran were absent.

City fends off legal challenge to bunny roundup

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Thursday, 15 May 2008, at 4:55 p.m.

In Response To: Kelowna puts contract out on bunnies‘ heads (Carmina Gooch)

City fends off legal challenge to bunny roundup
By Ron Seymour – Kelowna Daily Courier

A possible legal challenge to Kelowna‘s rabbit-reduction scheme looks to have been averted by city staff.

Four of the five firms and groups whose tenders were rejected by the city suggested this week that the request for proposals would have to be reissued.

They based that assertion on a motion passed unanimously by council at Monday‘s meeting, asking staff to talk with the winning bidder, EBB Environmental Consulting, about ways to minimize the number of rabbits that would be killed.

“By telling staff to continue talking with EBB, that meant the entire process was no longer fair and open for the rest of us,” Roxanne Woldenga, one of the losing bidders, said Wednesday.

But the motion that was passed by council included an important proviso: that the city‘s purchasing manager first advise on whether further contract negotiations would even be legally possible between staff and EBB Consulting.

“The advice from the purchasing manager is, ’No, you can‘t do that,‘” deputy city clerk Stephen Fleming said.

Council accepted EBB‘s low bid of $54,000 for a one-year control plan that includes live trapping and the subsequent killing of the rabbits.

It‘s possible some of the rabbits will be given to groups like The Responsible Animal Care society, whose members have already trapped and relocated more than 200 bunnies.

Doing so would be in EBB‘s best interest, parks manager Joe Creron suggested, since killing fewer rabbits would mean lower costs for the Lower Mainland-based firm.

But TRACS spokeswoman Sinikka Crosland says the group would need funding to provide for the rabbits‘ well-being for the rest of their lives in sex-separated, secure pens.

Crosland describes the rabbits as “beautiful, innocent, wonderful creatures,” and wonders why Kelowna‘s decision is to “kill, kill, kill. ”Between last Thursday and Monday‘s council meeting, the city received almost 50 e-mails or letters from people on the rabbit issue, with all correspondents opposed to the idea of killing the animals.

Two letters: Would council take same action against those responsible for city’s rabbit problem?

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Sunday, 18 May 2008, at 4:16 p.m.


Would council take same action against those responsible for city’s rabbit problem?

Kelowna Capital News
Published: May 18, 2008

To the editor:

After the strong opposition from the public denouncing the proposal to have Kelowna’s rabbits killed, what astounds me is that a few decision-makers have the power to carry out an ill-advised scheme that won’t work.

It’s a total waste of taxpayer dollars, it’s inhumane, and it’s contrary to what any civilized society would even consider.

What’s next, killing off the human population because we’re the ones responsible for this situation?

That would make more sense—at least those responsible would be held accountable.

Terry Roberge,
North Vancouver

May 15, 2008

Kelowna Capital News
Kelowna Daily Courier

Dear editor,

What is the matter with people? These rabbits didn't choose to be dumped outdoors so why should they become the victims of irresponsible human action, and then of an equally heartless council? Council and city staff certainly can't be that daft to see that having rabbits massacred in the hopes of reducing populations makes absolutely no sense. As long as there are no proactive measures, such as introducing breeding regulations and stopping sales of fertile baby rabbits in pet stores, there will be no end to the expanding colonies. Also, there will be no end to squandered taxpayer dollars as well as loss of revenue from the tourism industry, once word spreads that Kelowna is murdering bunnies.

Carmina Gooch
Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC
North Vancouver


More on this scandalous issue

May, 2008  Watchdog Posts 1 and 2 regarding rabbits in the news are now full. Go to Rabbit Advocacy to read more from our site where we post all the latest issues.