Target: Richmond Parks Department
Goal: Stop burying rabbits alive in Minoru Park
The city of Richmond, British Columbia, has been struggling with a feral rabbit problem for some time now. In 2010 the city banned the retail sales of rabbits in an attempt to reduce the number of domestic rabbits that were being abandoned. But Richmond’s ‘live and let live’ attitude towards the feral rabbits living in Minoru Park eventually led to a population boom. Now, local residents are concerned that employees of the Richmond Parks Department are trying to cover up the problem, literally, by filling in inhabited rabbit holes.
Richmond park goers are concerned that there is no sure way to determine if burrows are occupied before covering them with dirt. Park Department officials have admitted to filling in the holes, and have stated that it was done for public safety reasons. Reportedly not only were the holes covered over with dirt, which the Park Department argues that rabbits could dig out of, but also at one point the burrows were found to be covered with with planks of wood. The city denies having anything to do with covering the holes with wood.
Richmond residents are concerned with the decreasing rabbit population. They fear that rabbits are dying as a result of being buried alive. Some residents have resorted to opening up the covered burrow holes, reporting that on several occasions trapped rabbits were present inside the covered over burrows. A local rabbit group, Bandaids for Bunnies, has spoken out against the city’s practice of covering over the burrows. Group members feel that rabbit’s lives are at risk, especially very young rabbits.
Now, residents are calling for a new plan to deal with the feral rabbits. Bandaids for Bunnies members are requesting that a sanctuary be created where abandoned and feral rabbits can live out their lives without becoming a nuisance to humans. The group is also calling for stronger laws that ban the dumping of animals. Humane rabbit plans have recently been utilized in surrounding areas. Rabbits can be spayed or neutered so that they can no longer breed, and then released to live out the remainder of their lives. The University of Victoria made news recently when they relocated over 900 feral rabbits into sanctuaries, effectively making their campus rabbit-free.
By signing this petition, you are demanding that the Richmond Park Department employees stop filling in rabbit burrows in Minoru Park. No animal, even one labeled as a pest, deserves to be buried alive. Please urge the city to look into more humane methods of dealing with their feral rabbit population, such as relocating the rabbits to a sanctuary or investing in neuter and release programs. Also, demand that the city get down to the root of the problem and address the issue of people abandoning unwanted pets.
Dear Richmond Parks Department,
It has come to people’s attention lately that Richmond Park Department employees have been seen covering over the entrance holes of rabbit burrows in Minoru Park. Although your department has stated that wildlife species should be able to dig themselves free of the loose dirt used to cover the holes, there is no way to guarantee that this is always true. Residents are concerted that rabbits, especially young ones, are becoming trapped in the covered burrows and dying. In fact, on numerous occasions, residents have reported that when they uncovered some of the covered over burrows there were trapped rabbits inside.
Please stop burying rabbits alive and instead consider humane methods to deal with the feral rabbit population. This is an issue caused by humans, and the rabbits do not deserve to suffer. Consider implementing stronger laws that forbid people from dumping pet animals outside to fend for themselves. For the rabbits who are already present, a neuter/release program could be considered to prevent the rabbits from breeding, or a sanctuary could be constructed for the rabbits to live out the remainder of their lives in peace.
Even if your intentions were not cruel, understand that it is possibly for rabbits to die inside closed burrows. Please stop this cruel practice and find more humane ways of dealing with the feral rabbits and the burrows they create. Thank you.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Laurent Cerveau