It's a 'Massive Backyard Rabbit Hoarding Disaster'

Bunny World Foundation estimates 300 in California yard
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2024 1:45 PM CST
In Guy's Backyard, an Estimated 300 Rabbits
Well, that got out of hand.   (Getty Images/onsuda)

When Joe Torcello first spotted a rabbit hanging around his Los Angeles home, he was smitten. "I fell in love with her," he tells NBC News of the rabbit he named Belzer. As more and more rabbits appeared, he thought he was doing them a favor by not shooing them off. Within a few months, however, Torcello recognized he had a big problem—or what the Bunny World Foundation calls "a massive backyard rabbit hoarding disaster." "What a nightmare!" writes BWF President Lejla Hadzimuratovic, whose organization was called upon last week to assist the Los Angeles Animal Services Department in trapping more than 100 rabbits at the property, including 48 pregnant females. That's only a fraction of those that might eventually emerge.

Hadzimuratovic suspects some 300 rabbits could turn up in all because "multiple litters" hid beneath the home as trappers got to work. Veterinarians are also working to spay the captured rabbits but it's likely some will give birth before surgery can be performed. Hadzimuratovic notes it takes only two unfixed rabbits "to create a tragedy of mass proportions." "This was your typical situation where things got out of hand due to ignorance of rabbits' gestation period, which is 28 days," she writes. Authorities are working to shelter the rabbits. Torcello plans to adopt five, which will be kept indoors. He's learned his lesson after all. "Don't hang on to them and think you're going to do a favor for them," he tells NBC of his advice for others. "Get help right away." Otherwise, you're in for "an explosion." (More rabbits stories.)

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