The District of North Saanich on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, has decided that killing rabbits would not be a good solution to their overpopulation problem. When the district council met last week, they resolved that a better answer would be educating the public about how to deal with the issue. Here are highlights of the report by Steven Heywood in the Peninsula News Review.
“It’s an issue we have found can have a lot of emotion,” said director of planning and community services Mark Brodrick. “There are two distinct opinions on it.”
Councillor Dunstan Browne, chair of the committee session, read out a letter from Peter Hurley, the resident who first brought the issue to council’s attention. In it, Hurley stated he was disappointed with staff’s recommendation not to proceed with a municipal rabbit control program, but recognizes the reasons why.
Hurley did, however, urge council to help educate the public as a secondary option.
Staff did include an option to use the district’s website and newsletter to provide information, discourage rabbits as pets in the municipality, discourage their release and offer recommendations on their control — from fences and repellents, to brush control and inviting more predators.
Brodrick told council enforcing any new rules regarding rabbit control and release would be difficult, as would be asking the Capital Regional District (CRD) to add rabbits to its list of nuisance wildlife, which already includes deer, raccoons and geese.
“The CRD wants to see local municipalities do something first,” he said. “In the case of deer, they wanted communities to create a fencing and anti-feeding bylaw before (they) would consider getting involved.”
Council unanimously voted to have staff publish information that would discourage the keeping of pet rabbits, discourage the release of domestic rabbits and to provide recommendations for property owners.
To read the full report online, please go to http://www.peninsulanewsreview.com/news/187505391.html
With Easter on the horizon, a time when too many doting parents mistakenly give pet rabbits to children as gifts, there could not be a better time to launch an education program that informs the public about the requirements for successful house rabbit ownership. We congratulate the North Saanich district council and hope other municipalities will follow suit.