Lawyer probed after bunny deaths
By Keith Fraser, The ProvinceOctober 5, 2010
A retired lawyer at the centre of a bunny-shooting controversy on Vancouver Island is being investigated by the Law Society of B.C.
According to media reports, Barbara Smith contacted a trapper, who killed at least 30 feral rabbits that had been removed from the University of Victoria and placed in a government-approved sanctuary near her hobby farm in Coombs.
Smith told the Victoria Times Colonist that she returned from a trip to find at least 90 feral rabbits had escaped into her hay field.
She called the animals "inherently dangerous."
Smith said she was angry that the provincial Environment Ministry agreed to move the animals from UVic, where the university is trying to clear the campus of 1,400 of the estimated 2,000 abandoned former pets and their offspring.
The Law Society said the investigation was launched after a complaint was filed relating to Smith's alleged conduct regarding the bunnies.
A lawyer who is a member of the society, but who is retired, is subject to the same code of conduct as practising lawyers.
An investigator will make a recommendation on whether or not the complaint is founded. It could then be referred to a disciplinary committee to decide whether a peer review or formal hearing should be held.
Potential sanctions include reprimands and fines.
Reached at her home Monday, Smith declined to comment before hanging up the phone.