They’re cute, they’re small, and animal rescue groups say they continue to see people dump them at local parks across the valley.
Now, a new rumor has volunteers stepping up their efforts to help save the hundreds of former pet bunnies abandoned at the Desert Willow Treatment Center.
“We were told by witnesses that they saw some people putting bunnies in trash bags and then throwing them in the dumpsters still alive,” said Tina Dawn, Vegas Bunny Rescue.
Dawn founded Vegas Bunny Rescue which is one of the groups tipped off about the alleged bunny killings this week.
While Dawn hasn’t found any concrete evidence; she is still very concerned.
“It’s not safe to have your bunny dumped here. There are people who do cruel things. There are animals that eat them,” Dawn explained.
Stacey Taylor, the founder of Bunnies Matter in Vegas Too, is one of the dozens of volunteers who feed, water, and care for the estimated 800 feral rabbits roaming around the facility.
“It’s very heartbreaking for us to see this,” Taylor said.
Taylor added people continue to buy rabbits on a whim without realizing the responsibilities that come along with pet ownership.
“They can be very aggressive, they tear up things. The cost of vetting a bunny is very expensive,” Taylor said.
The volunteers say the people who abandon the animals at the facility are contributing to the growing population problem.
For Taylor, what’s worse than dumped bunnies are dead bunnies.
“This year the heat has wiped them out. Quite a few of them. They’re not safe,” Taylor said.
Veterinarian Dr. Nicole Smee says rabbits can only lose heat through their ears which make it difficult for them to cool down.
“All of them are covered in hair and so if they get overheated they can’t really do anything about it,” Dr. Smee explained.
Dr. Smee adds that extreme weather isn’t the only danger.
“These guys don’t really know how to take care of themselves, so they end up getting injuries, hit by cars, run over, attacked by things. It’s really unfortunate,” Dr. Smee said.
Volunteers are hoping to work with the state on a solution, but for now, they’re pushing to educate people on responsible pet ownership.
“Don’t dump your rabbits. Don’t dump your pets period,” Taylor said. “They can’t survive on their own.”
Volunteers add that bunnies do make great pets, you just have to be prepared for it.