Remembering rabbit rescuer John Graham Butler

Naomi was among the mourners at Butler's funeral


Naomi the rabbit was among the well-wishers paying her last respects at an animal lover’s funeral service last Monday (9/6/10).    

The coffin of John Graham Butler – who ran the Bunny Burrows rescue centre with wife Gwen – arrived in church adorned with carrots, apples and other rabbit favourites.

As mourners left the church, “Run Rabbit Run” played over the speakers.        

Mr. Butler died last month aged 65, following a four-year battle with cancer.        

Katherine Carr, family friend and lay preacher, paid tribute to the retired soldier and civil servant.        

She described him as “completely lovable,” adding: “We will treasure the memories of him – a very, very special person.”        

A number of mourners, including volunteers who help at the rescue centre, wore Bunny Burrows sweatshirts and T-shirts to the service.        

Naomi, a dwarf lop-eared rabbit, was carried in behind the wicker coffin.        

Mr. Butler came from an Army family. He joined the Royal Signals and served in numerous countries, including Germany, Belgium and Northern Ireland.        

He ended up being based at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, where he met his future wife at the Vintage Hotel, Scotch Corner.        

They married six months later on Mr Butler’s birthday.        

Mr. Butler helped his wife take in, care for and rehome hundreds of rabbits and guinea pigs.        



Among these was Tallulah, who made national headlines when she had a tummy tuck operation after becoming overweight.       

Another Bunny Burrows resident, Phoenix the French lop-eared, who weighed in at 6.3kg, featured on ITV’s This Morning in a discussion about obese pets.        

Other visitors to Bunny Burrows have included Friday, a miniature lop-eared rabbit, who was spotted by a passing motorist sitting next to a dead guinea pig in a field near Harrogate.        

The rabbit was later diagnosed with deadly myxomatosis, but was nursed back to good health by Mr and Mrs Butler. In 1997, their work was featured on Channel 4’s Pet Rescue.        

Mrs. Butler has vowed to continue running the centre.        

Bunny Burrows is a registered charity which relies solely on donations.        

For details on donating, email        

Click here to read the original story in The Northern Echo.

I’ll have a cold White Rabbit, please!

Yesterday’s post from Australia was about rabbit-themed coins.     

I think I’ll go to Australia, get a handful of rabbit coins, head for the pub, and enjoy a refreshing White Rabbit beer.      




“White Rabbit Brewing in the Yarra Valley, VIC, Australia opened its doors in mid-2009 with its flagship beer being the WR Dark Ale. The illustration features a playful white bunny rabbit jumping amongst the leafy landscape. The rabbit appears in a different position on each stubby label so that no two beer labels are the same.”      

Can you spot the White Rabbit?


“Due to the success of the Dark Ale, WR have now gone on to produce a second beer – the White Ale. The White Rabbit brewery has been a huge success, with the beer being a must in any Australian boutique beer-lovers collection.”      



From Tulare, CA: “Rabbit pens can be pretty smelly” (?)

This is an article that is primarily about chickens in Tulare, CA (if you don’t know where Tulare is, it is just east of Spinks Corner and south of Farmville).  

Located between Fresno and Bakersfield Tulare is in California’s Central Valley, an agricultural area that is literally the “bread basket” of California (and possibly the rest of the country).  

While rabbits may be viewed differently in agricultural communities, it is my personal opinion that articles like this perpetuate misinformation about bunnies and contribute to their overall suffering and lower status in the world of companion animals.  

Feel free to contact that author of the article to politely let him know that rabbits are not “smelly” and nothing like chickens. 

 I’ve highlighted the section of the article that addresses rabbits in red.  ~ Tamara 


Published at the Visalia Times Delta  

By Victor Garcia •   

Tulare City Code Enforcement officials say chickens are the agency’s third-most complained about animal behind dogs and cats.   

Rabbits and chickens are not the same.


On average, code enforcement receives about two-to-three complaints per week regarding chickens, said Frank Furtaw, Tulare code enforcement director.  

But Furtaw said his code enforcement officers don’t go searching for chickens. Code enforcement only responds to complaints about the animals.  

“Our guys don’t go on active chicken patrol however, if a complaint comes in we definitely follow up on it,” Furtaw said.  

On Tuesday, the Tulare City Council voted unanimously to make it illegal to raise chickens within the city limits.  

Most chickens that code enforcement comes across are considered to be free roaming, meaning no one will claim ownership of them, he said.  

Rabbits are also a problem code enforcement sees around the month of Easter.  

“They’re a horrible problem,” he said. “During Easter time, people think it’s cute to get their child a pet rabbit.”  

Rabbits also aren’t allowed within the Tulare city limits, he said.  

“Rabbit pens can be pretty smelly, and they cause the same issues [as chickens],” he said.  

Other animals which code enforcement officers have responded to include an Emu, iguanas and pythons, he said.  

People who are in violation receive a written notice first and a time period to remove the problem, Furtaw said.  

“If we have zero compliance, the first citations could be $100,” he said. “To our knowledge we’ve never had to issue a citation.”  

The Valley Oak SPCA, which handles animal control for the city of Visalia said it gives people in violation notices of 10 days to get the animal relocated outside of the city limits, said Valley Oak’s Kelly Austin.  

On average, her agency receives about one complaint per week about farm animals being inside city limits, she said.

Rochester, NY: Man fined for releasing rabbit

Published on

The Humane Society of Greater Rochester arrested a man for abandoning an injured rabbit.

Humane Society Cruelty Investigators said 22-year-old Bradlee Payne, store manager of Country Max in Brockport, NY released a rabbit into the field behind Country Max.

A witness told investigators they observed Payne return to the store through the employee door in the back and then went into the store to confront Payne. The witness was able to catch the rabbit and found that it had a severe injury with an open wound. That person then took the rabbit to a veterinarian, who humanely euthanized the rabbit due to the extent of its injuries.

Payne admitted releasing the wounded rabbit to Humane Society investigators. He is charged with a misdemeanor abandonment charge of an injured rabbit, which can lead to a possible sentence of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Payne was issued an appearance ticket and will appear in court at a later date.

“Amazing little creatures”

By Sandra Thomas, Vancouver Courier

Veterinarian Joseph Martinez slept on a mattress on the floor of his tiny Richmond clinic Sunday night to give post-op care to 10 rabbits that had been spayed or neutered in a 15-hour marathon the day before.    

Dr. Martinez tends to one of the rabbits / Photo: Chung Chow

 The 10 animals are some of the 40 rabbits Martinez spayed or neutered last weekend with the help of volunteer technicians at his Little Paws Animal Clinic.    

The rabbits are transplants from the University of Victoria, where a remarkable rescue operation is underway to trap, spay or neuter and relocate 1,400 rabbits.    

Martinez said he was happy to volunteer his time helping the rescue effort. So far he’s received no payment for his work, but the Burnaby-based animal-rights group Fur-Bearer Defenders is expected to cover some of the costs through its spay and neuter fund. “I obviously love animals, they are my passion,” said Martinez. “I have no family so they are my family.”    

UVic has a long history of wild rabbits, and this year proposed trapping and euthanizing the free-range bunnies. Last spring more than 100 rabbits were euthanized, which angered animal rights groups who protested a cull.    

In response, the provincial Ministry of Environment recently granted a trapping permit to the ad hoc group TRACS for Texas-bound Bunnies, whose members include Dunbar realtor Laura-Leah Shaw, West End rabbit rescue volunteer Sorelle Saidman and Downtown Vancouver resident Drina Read.    

The provincial government considers rabbits “wildlife,” so a special permit was needed to trap, transport and spay or neuter the rabbits. Martinez is the only Metro Vancouver veterinarian named in that government permit.    

Of the 1,400 rabbits, 400 will remain on Vancouver Island at a rabbit sanctuary, while TRACS is relocating 1,000 to the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in Texas. Shaw was key in securing the permit from the Ministry of Environment and after a search for a sanctuary large enough to take 1,000 rabbits, the volunteers discovered the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch.    

On Wednesday, Shaw dropped several dozen rabbits off at a sanctuary in Washington State, where they’ll remain until volunteers from Wild Rose pick them up by truck and transport them to Texas. Reached by cellphone, Shaw was preparing to leave Washington for a return trip to Victoria, where she planned to pick up dozens more of the rabbits headed for Little Paws in Richmond and eventually Texas.    

Shaw said while she volunteers her time for many causes, this is the first time she’s been involved with a rabbit rescue.    

“And I’ve discovered they’re amazing little creatures,” said Shaw, the Green Party of B.C.’s candidate for Vancouver-Quilchena.    

Shaw said she had no choice but to get involved with the rabbit rescue efforts at UVIC after hearing trapping would be done during breeding season.    

“That would leave all of those babies to starve,” said Shaw. “The university has all of these rabbits but no spay or neuter program, so their answer was to kill them. That just seemed wrong to me.”    

Shaw said at this point she and most of the volunteers involved in the rescue effort are paying for travel costs, housing and rabbit food and are scrambling to raise the money needed to complete the rescue effort.    

“We’re desperate for donations,” she said.    

For more information, see    

Update: Rabbits at University of Victoria (Canada)

Published at The 
Danielle Pope, CUP Western Bureau Chief  

VICTORIA (CUP) — The University of Victoria is gearing up for another mass rabbit capture after previous attempts this year have reduced the population by only a few hundred.  

The university now has two more trappings scheduled for the coming weeks, in an effort to reduce the population of rabbits by about 500. The long-term management plan aims to take the numbers from 1,600 down to 200, allowing the remaining rabbits to live in restricted zones on campus.  

Photo: Gemma Karstens-Smith

“Our plan right now is to create rabbit-free zones,” said Tom Smith, executive director of facilities management. “While we were able to reduce the population over the summer, there were many more bunnies born this season, so it’s hard to tell where we’re sitting now.”  

At the end of August, the university trapped 69 rabbits and sent them to different sanctuaries on and around Vancouver Island. Another 40 were sent to a Texas facility. Currently, there is space for close to 400 more rabbits on the Island and 1,000 in Texas.  

In May, the university euthanized 104 rabbits. The cull brought the university an injunction in July, however, after animal rights activist Roslyn Cassells and others took the university to court and they were ordered to cease.  

The university appealed the decision and the injunction was lifted a month later, allowing facilities management to humanely trap the animals.  

Smith said that until a further plan is developed, facilities management intends to follow court orders and will release all captured rabbits to B.C. Ministry of Environment-approved sanctuaries as long as there is room. Rabbits are spayed or neutered, and are supplied with a large outdoor pen.  

Cassells said the university has worked well with placing the recently trapped rabbits in sanctuaries, but her hope is that they keep capturing at a rate that will allow adoptive facilities enough time to receive the animals. She fears too many rabbits at once could still mean those turned away would be euthanized.  

In order for the university to keep even a few rabbits in restricted zones, it will likely face the same requirements — purchasing a $55-per-year permit from the ministry, tattooing the rabbits for identification, and providing them with the required services.  

Smith explained the university plans on taking a break from the rabbit issue while school is in session and will resume the captures in November.  

“As long as there are rabbits, people will just continue to drop more [unwanted pets] off here and we’ll be faced with this ongoing problem.”