Richmond Auto Mall, near Vancouver, BC, has had a rabbit problem for many years. It is located across the road from a large nature preserve, where dozens of unwanted pet rabbits have been dumped. The general manager of the mall association, Gail Terry, recently announced that a partnership has been reached with Precious Life Animal Sanctuary in Sequim, Washington. The deal is being held up because of provincial government red tape. Here are highlights of the news, as reported in the Richmond Review by Martin van den Hemel:
“We hope that we’ll have permission within four weeks or so,” Terry said, adding she’s “pretty confident” approval is coming.
The American sanctuary has agreed to host a colony of Richmond rabbits, and the mall has offered to help support the bunnies financially for the next five years. The same sanctuary already hosts another colony of rabbits rescued from the University of Victoria in 2010/11.
The deal to export the rabbits is still subject to provincial government approval. The current laws make it illegal to trap and possess rabbits without a permit, although trapping them and killing them is legal. But publicly-stated government policy does allow for rabbits to be trapped if they are going to be exported out of the country, Terry said.
Sending the rabbits south isn’t the best option, she said, but it’s one currently available to them.
A proposal to build a local sanctuary hasn’t thus far received support from the province, she said.
In the meantime, the auto mall has applied for a permit along with Rabbitats, a rescue group responsible for gathering the University of Victoria feral rabbits.
Precisely how many rabbits will be wintering in the U.S. depends on public support.
The rabbits all need to be spayed or neutered and transported to the U.S. Some additional construction will also be needed at the American sanctuary.
The auto mall association has agreed to match whatever public funds are raised toward the rabbit relocation.
There are roughly 300 rabbits on the grounds surrounding the Richmond Auto Mall, living in the hedges and on the lawns around the vehicle dealerships. Many are being killed by cars and predators.
The complete report may be viewed online at: http://www.richmondreview.com/news/179588801.html
These efforts to put some of Richmond’s hundreds of feral rabbits into a sanctuary are especially commendable in light of the decision in Canmore, Alberta to trap and euthanize their problem rabbits. Still, Hoppington Post finds it very strange that BC laws allow feral bunnies to be trapped and killed, but they may not be trapped and relocated to a sanctuary without special permission. Better legislation is needed to make it easier for communities to solve their rabbit problems.