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Why Were Dozens of Rabbits Dumped in an OC Park?

Photo by Nataliia Melnychuk via Shutterstock
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Animal care officials in Orange County are trying to figure out why someone would abandon dozens of domesticated white rabbits at a Huntington Beach park over the weekend.

A witness says they spied the "bunny dumpers" at about dawn on Sunday at Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park, according to City News Service. The story was first reported by the Huntington Beach Independent, who note:

Brian Peterson, who lives near the park, said a neighbor told him a pickup truck had stopped by the park early Sunday morning and the driver had unloaded the rabbits from cages. Peterson said he saw 30 or 40 rabbits in the park about 9 a.m. Sunday. In the early afternoon, he returned and found at least two of the rabbits killed, possibly by dogs or coyotes.

When OC Animal Care officers got to the park, they did find a few, but not the estimated three dozen or so. Still, the park was "hopping" more than usual.

Could it be that the bunnies were being unloaded following the Easter holiday? According to OC Animal Care Director Ryan Drabek, "animal shelters around the county have seen an increase in the number of chicks and bunnies being dropped off at shelters after the Easter season," reports the OC Register.

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Abandoning an animal is a misdemeanor, and Drabek adds that this bunny dump was "negligent" on the part of whoever had been caring for the animals. Another fear is that because the animals are thought to be domesticated, they may not be as savvy about obtaining food and water in the wild.

Park rangers have been keeping an eye out and surveillance has been stepped up at the park.