Last Updated on July 26, 2023 by Fumipets
Red Deer Resident Raises Alarm Over Rampaging Rabbits: Could the City Face an “Infestation”?
Red Deer Faces an Unwanted Garden Nuisance
Red Deer, a picturesque city known for its natural beauty, is now grappling with an unexpected and troublesome issue. Rampaging pet rabbits, abandoned and left to their own devices, are wreaking havoc in the tranquil neighborhoods of Glendale. One fed-up resident, Crystal Van de Ligt, speaks out about the growing concern, fearing an impending “infestation” that could spell trouble for the city’s ecological balance.
Pet Rabbits Gone Wild
For Crystal Van de Ligt, the situation became unbearable when she witnessed her pet chihuahua narrowly escape a car collision while chasing one of these unruly rabbits across the road. Determined to find a solution, she voices the frustration of many residents plagued by these furry intruders.
According to Van de Ligt, the unleashed bunnies are responsible for the destruction of her garden, leaving a trail of decimated flowers and vegetables in their wake. She’s not alone in her troubles; countless other residents share similar stories of their gardens falling victim to these voracious eaters.
Rapid Reproduction and Growing Concerns
The woes don’t end there, as Van de Ligt reveals her encounter with a pair of mating rabbits on her lawn, fearing a potential influx of baby rabbits in the coming month. If not addressed promptly, this could lead to an alarming surge in the rabbit population, reminiscent of Calgary’s rabbit problem.
Calgary’s own experience with released pet rabbits has shown that it attracts predators like coyotes and bobcats into urban areas. Moreover, the rabbits have been afflicted by a fatal virus that could spread to the wild rabbit and hare population, becoming a serious ecological threat.
Challenges in Seeking Help
Desperate for assistance, Van de Ligt’s search for solutions has hit a series of roadblocks. The local Alberta Animal Services, which usually deals with nuisance cats and dogs, does not cover rabbit-related issues. Even the SPCA is facing limitations, with full cages and insufficient staff to tackle the bunny problem.
Meanwhile, a private pest control business offers to trap the rabbits for a fee but intends to release them elsewhere, posing doubts about the effectiveness of such measures.
Rescue Efforts by Medicine River Wildlife Centre
Thankfully, the Medicine River Wildlife Centre has been proactive in addressing this crisis. They have rounded up around 30 to 40 former pet rabbits from Glendale over the last three to four years, striving to prevent an impending wildlife disaster.
However, the challenge persists as some bunnies have managed to survive winters, becoming increasingly elusive and avoiding traps. To combat this, the wildlife rescue group seeks assistance from neighborhood volunteers to discreetly monitor the traps, ensuring the rabbits can be captured safely.
The City’s Response and Call for Responsible Pet Ownership
As concerns grow, the City of Red Deer plans to address the issue through an updated Animal Control Bylaw, set to come back to council this fall. Provisions aimed at curbing the rabbit problem in North Red Deer could be included, such as expanding the contract with Alberta Animal Services.
Amy Fengstad, the City of Red Deer’s parking and licensing supervisor, encourages responsible pet ownership. She urges citizens to refrain from releasing unwanted pet bunnies into the wild, emphasizing the importance of shelters and finding them loving homes instead.
Preserving the Harmony of Red Deer
With Red Deer’s serene atmosphere and natural surroundings under threat, it’s crucial for the community to unite in tackling this pressing issue. Responsible pet ownership and proactive measures can help safeguard the city’s harmony and protect its unique wildlife.
Source: Red Deer Advocate