Hatred of feral rabbits in Valdez turns gory

June 18, 2010 

Feral rabbits in Valdez

JIM LAVRAKAS / ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO Buy Photo

Some Valdez residents strongly dislike the town's big population of feral rabbits, and apparently one or a few people are resorting to violence against them, reports the Valdez Star. The rabbits aren't being picked off cleanly and quickly with bullets; they're being smashed with rocks and set upon by dogs.

In April, [Tammy] Hurst discovered a severely wounded rabbit. At around midnight, she called in veterinarian Kelly Hawkins, who woke up and came over to check out the injured rabbit. Its wounds included a gash in the middle of its forehead, a crushed-in skull and eyeballs that had "exploded," Hurst said. ...

In May, Hurst saw another injured rabbit. It was in her yard trying to run away but its efforts were hindered by its hindquarters, which appeared to be paralyzed and dragging. The next day, she took it to the veterinarian clinic, where it was discovered that the rabbit was suffering from nerve damage. The rabbit was euthanized.

Also in May, an employee of Silver Bay Seafoods was turned in by co-workers after he killed a rabbit with a rock outside the plant. He was cited for cruelty to animals.

Hurst -- described as "a known bunny lover" by the Star -- said she's puzzled by the anger toward rabbits. "They are completely endearing," she told the Star. "The tourists love them." Some townsfolk disagree, and if the rabbit population is decreasing, they're happy.

They have argued the feral population of bunnies are a nuisance. They claim the rabbits devastate gardens and are destructive to property and openly advocate for their eradication. ... "It's a sad mark for the human race," [Hurst responded].

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