More on rabbits pierced with arrows in Calgary…

OK, as I was searching for an update to the story of the Calgary rabbit pierced by an arrow, I was disturbed to find ANOTHER story about a rabbit in Calgary from May 2010 that had suffered a similar fate!     

What is going on in the Great White North?     

This story was published in the Calgary Sun on May 5, 2010:     

Another arrow-pierced rabbit in Calgary?

Danny Burmeister is used to seeing wild rabbits hopping about his southwest neighbourhood.   

But as he looked outside his Coach Hill home on Sunday evening, he saw something unusual: a brown hare with a long, yellow-feathered arrow pierced completely through its hindquarters.   

“It really pulls at your heartstrings — you’ve got to feel for it,” he said.   “The weird thing is he was really non-chalant and just doing what any normal rabbit would do.”  
Burmeister said its not unusual to see as many as 10-12 rabbits hopping through his neighbourhood near the city’s periphery as they are drawn to apple trees in the area.    

With a collection farms close by, Burmeister said he suspects that someone in the rural area managed to hit the elusive hare but failed to score any vital organs, allowing it to escape with the arrow, that’s longer than its own body, still lodged in it.   

The rabbit, which has several inches of the arrow’s shaft protruding from each side, didn’t hang around long after Burmeister went out to snap some pictures and he hasn’t seen it since.    

“I took a good look around to see if I could find it and get some help but I haven’t seen it again,” he said. 
“Everything is here for a purpose and I don’t like seeing it in pain.”    

A Canada goose pierced by an arrow in 2006 managed to elude capture from would be rescuers on several occasions and was spotted returning to the city’s northeast a year later with the same projectile still lodged in it.    

Can a rabbit can survive after it’s been shot with an arrow? 

Rabbit speared with arrow in Canada

Rabbit speared with arrow in Calgary.

A shocking site for a Calgary woman on her way to work.

Calgary – August 23, 2010.  Gina Rowley spotted a rabbit running through the parking lot of Calgary’s McMahon Stadium with an arrow through its back. The arrow is lodged seemingly just beneath its spine.         

 “I think the people who are doing this should be caught and punished. I think it’s completely disgusting. This is about the fourth case that I know of animals being shot with arrows and I think people should do something about it,” says an outraged Rowley.    

Police were called out and attempted to catch the animal, but came up empty-handed after a 30-minute chase.          

Rabbits frequent the open spaces surrounding the stadium and people are often able to get close to the animals.          

The Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society says that makes them an easy target. The group says it doesn’t have the resources to send someone out to find the rabbit, but if someone catches it, they can bring it in to them or call.    

This incident comes just a couple of weeks after someone shot a dog in Okotoks with an arrow.          

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are still trying to find the person responsible in that case.          

BNN will provide updates to this story as they become available.          

To read the original story click here.

Black Market Rabbits Rescued by ‘Bunny Lady’

Reprinted from a post by Lindsay William-Ross
August 21, 2010

Everyday, illegal vendors sell baby animals in the Fashion District, and many sicken and die soon after they’re taken home. But some are rescued by Lejla Hadzimuratovic, founder of Bunny World Foundation, who was recently profiled ABC7

Too young to be sold!

Baby rabbits need to be cared for in their infancy, but are often taken from their mothers too soon to be sold on a black market.

Hadzimuratovic has been nicknamed “The Bunny Lady” because “she’s put her life on hold, taking in some 800 baby bunnies confiscated by police on the streets of L.A. over the past two years.” 

She says the vendors in Downtown L.A. in Santee Alley know her, and they pack up and hide their animals when she comes by with the abc7 film crew. Back at her home, described as “an intensive-care unit of sorts for rescued bunnies,” she tends to dozens of rabbits.     

Rabbits fall victim to the illegal animal trade when they are sold off too young. Often new owners, many of them parents of children who are growing attached to the sick baby pets, are told by veterinarians they will face the loss of their new friend.     

The mission of the BWF is to get the animals rehabilitated and adopted into loving homes. They also hope to educate the public about the perils of the bunny black market.     

Too many bunnies at the Oakland Animal Services shelter

Oakland animal shelter is at capacity with rabbits.

Two rabbits share one of the cages at the Oakland Animal Services shelter–they hop around, sniffing, stretching out their hind legs and paws, and wagging their little tails. Then they cuddle up with each other. 

Meenie and Mynie are five-month-old sisters and a bonded pair; one is honey-brown with big floppy ears that hang down the side of her head and the other, with the same floppy ears, is a brown and gray calico. 

Bonded pairs are not the norm for rabbits; it occurs when there’s a special connection between two who do everything together and are extremely affectionate with each other. 

But at animal shelters, bonded pairs are even harder to get adopted because there are two of them–and it’s already hard enough to find homes for abandoned rabbits in Oakland. 

Meenie and Mynie are just two of the 31 rabbits up for adoption at the Oakland Animal Services shelter. Rabbits are the third most euthanized animal in the United States–after cats and dogs–and the third most in need of adoption. From July 2009 to July 2010, 164 rabbits were abandoned at Oakland Animal Services; right now the shelter is maxed out on its space for rabbits. 

Part of the Oakland Police Department, Oakland Animal Services is both an Animal Control unit–which is in charge of the city’s public safety and animal welfare–and the shelter, which helps abused, neglected and abandoned animals within its facility. Once brought into the shelter, animals are taken care of by staff and volunteers. 

Marcy Schaaf, SaveABunny Founder

Oakland Animal Services also partners with other organizations for those animals that need extra care. For rabbits, they work with SaveABunny, which is based in Mill Valley, CA. SaveABunny is a nonprofit that specializes in rescuing rabbits that are facing euthanasia at shelters due to health or behavior problems, as well as overcrowding. 

“Right now, Oakland has a sick rabbit that has to come out,” says Marcy Schaaf, founder of SaveABunny. “She has an abscess on her face and abscesses can be very serious.” 

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Click here to read the originally published story.

Enter the 2010 Bunnyfest Photo Contest

You are invited to submit your favorite bunny photos to the San Diego House Rabbit Society  2010 Bunnyfest Photo Contest!

This year’s categories are:

• Disabled Darlings: Special needs bunnies are special indeed. Show us how yours still has a great quality of life.

• Dynamic Dewlaps: Is your bunny the proud owner of fine “chin pillow” that’s always there when she needs it?

• Happy Birthday Bunny: Does your bunny get lots of gifts, a special treat, or extra attention? Show us how you celebrate your bunny’s birthday.

• My Castle Rules!: Does your bunny live in style? Show us your bunny’s creative structure.

• On the Lam: When bunnies move, they move fast. Have you caught your bunny on the run?

How to Submit Your Photos:

You may submit printed photos or digital photo files.

If you submit digital photos, they should be in high resolution for optimal printing (200-300 dpi or 2100 x 1500 pixels minimum). Please limit your submissions to 2 photos per category. E-mail your photos to our photo contest coordinators, Alison & Noah, at

To submit printed photos, please mail them to:
The Rabbit Reader
P.O. Box 261553
San Diego, CA 92196-1553
Attn: Photo Contest

Please include the following with each photo you submit:
• Your name, phone number and/or email address (to notify you if you win)
• The category for which you are submitting your photo
• The names of any ‘subjects’ in your photo
•  A caption for your photo (optional)

There is no charge to submit your photos. (Funds are raised by a small fee for each vote.)

Deadline for submitting photos is Sept. 5, 2010.

Then, tell your friends and start voting online at for your favorite photos!

Anyone can enter, but prizes will only be mailed within the United States. Prizes provided by Amy Sommerville of AK Specialties, designer of beautiful etched glass art.

International News: Own a hutch, break the law?

When I stumbled across this story on a few days ago, I was dismayed to learn that the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) supports indoor AND outdoor housing for rabbits.      

Yet, it is important that people understand the importance of providing bunnies with adequate housing space. Whenever I see small rabbit cages – like the “Starter Kit” packages sold at pet stores – I cringe.  I feel sorry for rabbits that are forced to live in such a small setup where they have almost no room to move around.        

 And now back to that news story….        

August 10, 2010 – Rabbit hutches sold by Britain’s largest retail chains are so small that they are tantamount to animal cruelty and could cause owners to inadvertently break the law, an animal welfare charity warned recently.        

 With greater numbers of rabbits being sold as children’s pets during the school holidays, the RWAF urged retailers to improve their hutches.      

Britain’s largest specialist rabbit welfare charity, the RWAF said Argos and Homebase, for example, both sold a £70 ($109 USD) hutch that is only 77cm (30 inches) long but is marketed as big enough to allow rabbits to “stretch on their hind legs and run freely.”         

3 out of 3 rabbits polled prefer indoor x-pen living.


The charity said the hutch was barely half the size recommended for laboratory rabbits, while four separate hutches in the Argos range were smaller than the minimum for lab rabbits.      

The RWAF said this was hypocritical because Argos had earned “cruelty-free” status from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection.      

Rae Todd, of the RWAF, said: “Pet rabbits can live in hutches provided they’re big enough for rabbits to hop around, stretch and jump up, and as long as they’re attached to a permanent exercise area.       

“But keeping rabbits cooped up alone in hutches of the type sold by these big retail chains is just tantamount to cruelty.”   There is no legal minimum size for a hutch, but the Animal Welfare Act makes it a legal obligation for owners to provide for the needs of their pets, including somewhere suitable to live, the ability to express normal behaviour and being housed with (or apart from) other animals.       

 The RWAF said rabbit owners cannot meet these legal obligations if they keep their rabbit alone in a hutch. It added that a hutch should only ever be a shelter as part of a larger living area, and never the sole accommodation.     

 “A traditional hutch and run isn’t the only way to keep pet rabbits humanely,” Todd said. “Many people find it easier to adapt a garden shed as rabbit accommodation, build an attractive garden feature from a converted aviary or child’s wendy house or keep them indoors, house trained.”      

She said the organisation had sent Argos an 11-page review of its product range in April, but had received “only a standard reply – which was very disappointing”.      

The Home Retail Group, of which Argos and Homebase are members, said it was committed to being a responsible retailer. A statement said: “The RSCPA has advised that it has no current recommendation for the size of a hutch for a single rabbit. In our autumn/winter catalogue we do make it clear that hutches should be used in conjunction with a run, we will be amending the website to that effect. We also offer a discount on a run if purchased in conjunction with selected rabbit hutches.”

Is Pet Insurance Worth the Cost?

Is pet insurance worth the price? Not really, according to Consumer Reports. Their findings suggest that pet owners may save some money if they run into major health issues, but for the average pet, most vet visits will be for minor issues, many not covered by the insurance.

While living in the UK, we used Pet Plan, the only pet insurance company that covered rabbits. Our monthly premium was approximately 10.00 GBP per month, per rabbit (we had four rabbits). But over a couple of years we found that for every vet visit, we also had to meet a separate deductible (per health ‘incident’, and per rabbit), and pay an administrative fee for our vet to process our claims forms. In the end, we decided we weren’t really saving any money and canceled our policy altogether.

However, other households have benefited from having pet insurance coverage. Vet bills can add up quickly when you have multiple pets, disabled rabbits, or pets with chronic illnesses. But be sure to read the fine print before signing up for any policy, and be clear about what is and isn’t covered.

In the USA, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) is the only company currently issuing policies to rabbits under their “Avian & Exotic” plan. The premium is about $10 per month (less if you register multiple pets), and includes lab fees, treatments, prescriptions, x-rays, surgery, hospitalization, emergency care, and even cancer treatment. You can continue to use the rabbit-savvy veterinarian of your choice, too.

Read the entire Consumer Reports article here, consider your own situation, and decide for yourself if pet insurance is worth the cost for your household.

Dear JoAnn Fabrics: Pets NOT Pelts!

Yesterday, BNN Editor Chandra Beal wrote about companies and products that have been certified as cruelty-free through the Leaping Bunny program.  

By coincidence, I was looking at Marin County’s SaveABunny Web site yesterday and learned that JoAnn Fabrics is selling rabbit skins for $3.99 on their Web site.    

The item is described as, “Beautiful snow-white rabbit skin for all sorts of craft & home decor projects.” There is one “14”x10” rabbit skin per pack.    

I am horrified that a store that probably makes a tidy profit by selling Easter merchandise (their Web site lists 186 rabbit-themed items) would literally sell the Easter bunny down the river this way.  

JoAnn Fabrics encourages manufacturers to raise rabbits for their fur by offering a marketplace for this awful product.  

$3.99 rabbit skin at


Shame on you, JoAnn Fabrics!  

Please send a polite communication (email, letter, or phone call) to JoAnn Fabrics and let them know that it’s not OK to sell rabbit skins – or the skins of any animal that is a beloved family companion/pet.   

Contact information:
1-888-739-4120 (M-F 9am -8pm; Sat 9am-6pm ET)   

Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores
5555 Darrow Road
Hudson, Ohio 44236   

Use this online form to send an email.

Take the Leap to Cruelty-Free Products

Look out for the bunny! Not the one running around your feet, but the one on your shampoo bottle, or dish detergent, or your favorite lipstick. The rabbit who looks like he’s flying free through the wind is a guarantee that your product is 100% cruelty-free.

If a product states it is “cruelty-free”, it doesn’t necessarily mean  it hasn’t been tested on animals. Designation as “cruelty-free” or “not tested on animals,” or even the image of a bunny (other than the official Leaping Bunny logo) on a label may only refer to the finished product, when in fact, most animal testing occurs at the ingredient level.

To make matters more complicated, while a company may claim, “We do not test on animals,” it could still contract other companies to do the testing. The only way to be 100% certain a company is cruelty-free is to buy products from companies that have been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program, which requires that no new animal testing be used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or ingredient suppliers.

The Leaping Bunny Program began in the mid-1990s after cruelty-free shopping had become popular, but no industry standards yet existed. Companies designed their own bunny logos, abiding by their own definition of ‘cruelty-free’ or ‘animal friendly’ without the participation of animal protection groups.

In response to this confusing labeling, eight national animal protection groups banded together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics. They promote a single comprehensive standard and the internationally recognized Leaping Bunny logo to make shopping for animal-friendly products easier and more trustworthy.

Buying products with the Leaping Bunny logo takes the guesswork out of shopping. Use your dollars to send a strong message that animal testing is outdated and unnecessary! When you purchase a product, you send this message to the manufacturer: “I support your products and your policies!”

The Leaping Bunny logo is your guarantee. But please keep in mind, even though some companies fulfill the standard of the Leaping Bunny program, they may not choose to pay the necessary license fee to display it on the label of the product. However, these companies as well as the companies who have paid the fee, are indicated on the program’s  shopping guide, which includes cosmetics, personal care products, household products, and animal care products.

Visit the Leaping Bunny website and download a copy of their shopping guide, or order the pocket-sized version. iPhone carriers can even download the shopping guide as an application.