Vernon Morningstar: Bunnies go under the knife

Posted By: Carmina Gooch
Date: Friday, 21 April 2006, at 3:57 p.m.

Bunnies go under the knife
By Jennifer Dyck
Morning Star Staff, Vernon BC

Two years of trying to keep up with Vernon's multiplying stray rabbit population is receiving its first glimpse of help.

Vernon's homeless bunny rescuer, Maurie Deaton, has finally been given a hand in controlling the population with some funding.

A donation of $750 from the Animal Advocates of BC, along with a reduced rate from Lake Country's Panorama Veterinary Services, allowed Deaton to load up 20 rabbits Monday to be spayed and/or neutered. Yet while the bounty of bunnies is Vernon's problem, the aid is all coming from out-of-town.

Judy Stone, Animal Advocates president, said it's unfortunate Deaton and her helpers have to look elsewhere for aid for a local situation. "They're the ones doing all the work and not getting any money for it." Deaton too would like to see more support given, adding that a good start is through education.

She warns all families considering bringing home a bunny as an Easter gift that these animals take just as much care and attention as cats or dogs. That includes having them spayed and neutered. "It is not a good pet to get for Easter." "So instead, I'm happy to loan them one for Easter."

Unfortunately, many owners discover rabbit responsibilities to be more than they anticipated and assume the animal will live a better life running free around town. But the city environment is no place for domestic rabbits, said Deaton, as their 10-year life span is reduced to two on the street. "Their survival rate is very poor in town, they get preyed on by owls, cats, dogs, and people," she said as people shoot and torture them. "Babies especially have a high mortality rate."

Not only that, but doing what rabbits do best, the more than two-year problem has continued to multiply around town, with females producing from four to 12 young as often as every month. "That's why we have such a big problem."

And now these former pets have become known as the neighbourhood pests to some residents. So since Deaton looked out her front window two years ago and saw 12 rabbits on her lawn, she has dedicated herself to help. "If you don't start taking care of them you'll have hundreds and hundreds and it will be an even bigger problem." "And the more we get off the street the less will die."

She asks anyone who can trap the strays, donate cages, food or funds or who would like to adopt one of the rabbits to call her at 558-7720. She also works to match rabbits with people through personalities, and assures that if the animal does not work out she will take it back.

First rabbits are product at the SPCA's partner, Petcetera, and then they are product at SPCAs

While Surrey SPCA manager Tanya Firmage is "urging people to think before they buy that little white Easter bunny" the BC SPCA itself is partnering with Petcetera, "Canada's leading pet superstore chain," a chain that has rabbits on sale just in time for Easter. During today's half hour visit (Good Friday) to the Rupert/Grandview outlet there were eight rabbits on display and several customers considering a purchase.
Carmina Gooch
Terry Roberge

Related messageboard posts:

Surrey Now: The Surrey SPCA is urging people to think before they buy that little white Easter bunny
Carmina Gooch -- Friday, 14 April 2006, at 6:20 p.m.

First rabbits are product at the SPCA's partner, Petcetera, and then they are product at SPCAs *PIC*
Carmina Gooch -- Friday, 14 April 2006, at 6:25 p.m.

"Assorted" rabbits on sale at Petcetera *LINK* *PIC*
Jean Martin -- Saturday, 15 April 2006, at 5:55 a.m.

Comox SPCA also: same thing every year
Carol Sonnex -- Sunday, 16 April 2006, at 6:43 a.m.

While Petcetera sells baby rabbits SPCA adult rabbit languishes
Carmina Gooch -- Sunday, 16 April 2006, at 5:15 p.m.

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