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SPCA Was Here...

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SPCA Was Here...

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Bad Habit » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:58 am


(this is a copy of what I posted on FB. I am 99.9% sure it is RT friendly, but I apologize if any colourful language escaped my editing)

Finally have a chance to sit down at the computer and actually write out what happened.

So, on Tuesday, I came home from a visit with my mother/job interview, to find town bylaw at my house. My fiance was upstairs sleeping, and my father was talking to bylaw. I attempted to remain calm and find out what, exactly, was happening, ensuring that he was aware that I was the owner of the rabbits. I was talked to like a criminal, and eventually found out that I was being accused of harbouring livestock in town. The rabbits were considered livestock.

These were rescue rabbits, we had started with almost 60 total. We had privately removed them from a woman's home(with her blessing and permission), were housing, caring for and feeding them ourselves. We had taken no donations, asked for no assistance, were, in my mind, simply helping out a friend who had gotten in over her head. The rabbits were in ROUGH shape. Starving, dehydrated, near death. There were dozens we couldn't get out. I contacted the local humane society once the rabbits were rescued to let them know WE had them, we had just gotten them and were bringing them back to health. I included photos of all the rabbits on intake, intake weights and information on all individual rabbits. I was covering my butt and trying to prevent issues.

Because these were rescue rabbits, in rough shape, I had a severe outbreak of a respiratory illness as of last weekend. I ended up having to cull 9 separate rabbits, as they all developed severe respiratory distress and were struggling to breath. This was on Sunday. I live in Canada, weather has been -18c on average, and garbage day is Wednesday morning. When bylaw showed up, there were 10 dead rabbits in my yard.

Things looked bad. Bylaw called the SPCA, I was served an order through email to provide food, water and shelter for the 7 rabbits living outdoors(there were 19 in the shed). Our local SPCA officer is off work, nearest one is over an hour away. She schedules to come out and check compliance on Wednesday.

We don't feel we are doing anything wrong. We feed and water as normal that day. Get up regular time the next day, go out and start puttering. As usual, start at the outside rabbits and work my way towards the shed - hay, straw, hot water and feed for everyone. Get started in the shed, am obviously about halfway through when the woman shows up. She is snippy and snarky and immediately starts treating me like I am a horrid person. Won't let me say anything(I have social anxiety, I rehearse everything I say before I say it, I had everything planned out to say if only she'd just let me talk...) Goes to her truck to make some calls. I am pretty sure at this point she is going to call the police to have me arrested. I start panicking, go into the house and dress warm(it's cold in the holding cells), and go out to collect up a rabbit to cuddle. When she finally comes back, she is a little easier to deal with - she had called the humane society, as I had told her I would turn over at least some of the outdoor rabbits to her(I didn't want as many as I had, I wanted them to go to homes, and I wasn't getting them sold, I was happy to have them off my feed bill tbh.) I tried talking to her again, and she was again very accusatory towards me, authoritarian and acting like a bully. I get resentful, defensive and snotty, as I am prone to, and end up having to walk away to leave my fiance to deal with everything. While I am gone, he agrees to turn 10 rabbits total over to them. Did not point out which, but had the number 10 in mind from our discussions previous.

When I came back, I was asked to show them which we were willing to part with. In tears, I took each of the rabbits we were sending out, and gave them the specifics. They didn't like the idea that we had names for them like "Alice's Sister" and "The Little White Lionhead", but in 8 weeks, their descriptions had become their titles, because we didn't want to formally name the ones we were rehabbing and rehoming. They took 8, and I gave sex/breed/age information on each and every single one, cried and cuddled each one one last time, and spoke directly to the woman from the humane society, rather than the SPCA officer. They did soften when they realized that we really were wanting what was best for these rabbits. I told them everything I possibly could think of about the rabbits, including feed schedule, what we are feeding, and how best to switch them over to their preferred food if they didn't want to keep at what we were feeding(17% protein pellets supplemented with horse oats, molasses horse oats and black oil sunflower seed). We were told the SPCA officer would be back the next day to check things. I pointed out 3 rabbits that were being picked up that afternoon(the breeder of one wanted her back and selected 2 others to take with her). She left, and I had a chance to look over the paperwork.

The shed needed cleaning. All rabbits were to have food and water, and some form of mat to get off of the wire. The trays had to be cleaned, and kept clean. I had to provide a heat source for them that wouldn't be considered a fire hazard in a hay filled shed. And I had 24hrs to comply.

It felt hopeless. I figured I was done. I gave up on my rabbits probably 50 times that day, and wanted to go to bed and just not deal with anything. I wanted to email her and tell her I was turning over all the rest of the rabbits to her, with the exception of the 2 babies I had sold, and one pet. It was the hardest day of my life, I think.

I got up early Thursday morning to finish what I had started. A long sleep and I felt better about things, I didn't want to give up and let them win. When the SPCA Officer showed up, we showed her outside, and the lack of rabbits there. We took her inside and showed her the laundry toom, where we had moved every rabbit that we still had. She was amazed. I told her straight up that the only thing I didn't comply on was giving free fed hay and a resting mat to my angora. I showed her the rabbit's belly, where every strand of hay that I had failed to clean from her cage was already wrapping in her wool and starting to cause mats. I told her about the 3" of mats I had already struggled to groom from the rabbit, and my lack of desire to allow her to develop the same issues again. The SPCA officer agreed that she required special consideration, revoked the original orders and provided me with a new order to comply, giving me until January 4th to properly research a resting mat for an angora, and provide her with it. We are to let her know via email when we have the information, and once she is provided with it.

But this is the end for me. I am not going to be doing any private rescues any longer, I will not be beginning another foray into rabbit breeding. We are getting down to a few pet rabbits and leaving it at that. Ive officially been punished for trying to do what I felt was right, and trying to save rabbits that otherwise would have starved to death in their cages.
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Re: SPCA Was Here...

Post Number:#2  Unread postby TeaTimeBunnies » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:52 pm


Oh, Bad Habit, that's just awful. I hope everything works out smoothly for you. It is so sad to hear that happened to you because you were helping out helpless rabbits that desperately needed you. :wr_crying:
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Re: SPCA Was Here...

Post Number:#3  Unread postby KimitsuKouseki » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:05 pm


I'm stunned after reading this. I had an issue myself recently cause a guy i did business with cancelled his order on 35 babies. My friend, who insisted on not culling em, almost had the cops called on her when trying to drop 20 of em at the shelter even though she said she found em.

It's crazy how idiotic some people in animal rescue are. Try to save some rabbits and you get blamed and accused of animal cruelty. Bravo, that's gonna motivate people to save animals again you ****.

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Re: SPCA Was Here...

Post Number:#4  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:26 pm


Hang in there, Bad Habit! It's a rotten situation and the authorities you were dealing with sound judgmental and unreasonable, but you have the moral high ground here and that must be some comfort to you.

I do think it is a good idea to take a break from rescuing rabbits. You've had a lot of changes in your life in a relatively short time -- many for the better -- but it still takes time to adjust to them. Your kind heart sometimes leads you into taking on more than is comfortable, and it leaves you vulnerable to the kind of thing that just happened.

Please know and remember that we are with you, pulling for you, and keeping you in our thoughts and hearts. (((HUGS)))
Last edited by MaggieJ on Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typo
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Re: SPCA Was Here...

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Marinea » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:15 pm


First, major kudos in tamping down your anxiety for the sake of the buns. I can only imagine how hard that must have been. But you managed it when it had to be done. Good for you.

Taking a step back is not a defeat. It is a way to get better, more solid footing before moving forward again. You helped those rabbits. And will continue to help any in your care. You know that. All of us here know that.

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Re: SPCA Was Here...

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Bad Habit » Sat Dec 23, 2017 6:42 pm


It's been harder then heck to deal with, both mentally and physically. It helped that my fiance and I were able to prove to one another that we can really band together when we need to and put our own issues aside to work through the adversities we face together. He also learned that the pets are more important to him than he originally thought, after losing his personal baby bunny right on the heels of signing over 8 rabbits to the humane society. The boys are a bit confused with the changes, but are happy as heck to have the rabbits in the house, and free access to go visit and say hi whenever they want.

We aren't getting out of rabbits completely. Will have our pets, and have some exposed does that may be kindling in the new year. Jere wants to keep one of the babies, but I am still holding onto my standards for potential breeding rabbits, and don't want to just keep cute mutts.

Thanks for the support guys. As with everything, I share so others can learn from my mistakes/experiences. I know there isn't much anyone can say or do at this point, but if just one person learns something from the story, then it was worth sharing.

Also - forgot to say that the dead rabbits were IN GARBAGE BAGS. Not just, like, laying in a pile in my yard or something similarly gross.
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Re: SPCA Was Here...

Post Number:#7  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:10 pm


I know this whole affair has been incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching, Bad Habit, but I just want to say that you've come through it stronger than ever and able to find the bright side among the clouds. My hat's off to you! :cowboy:
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Re: SPCA Was Here...

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Truckinguy » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:30 am


Sorry you had to go through that, Bad Habit. The thought of those people coming to the house terrifies me as I've heard so many stories of them being unreasonable/fanatic. I would hate the thought of any activist coming to my place as all of my rabbits are outside and they probably wouldn't like that, not to mention the deep bedding method over the winter for the chickens. Gotta keep a low profile...

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