‘We are in a war zone,’ says woman who ordered Victoria rabbits shot

Susan Vickery of Common Ground wildlife refuge on Saltspring Islan, left, and Wendy Huntbatch of the World Parrot Refuge in Coombs, feed a rabbit at the parrot refuge in Coombs, B.C. About 240 rabbits were brought to the property this month from the University of Victoria, where the bunny population had become a serious issue. But on Sept. 28, about 30 rabbits broke out of the refuge, and several were shot by a neighbour. Photograph by: Brian Wilford, Oceanside Star

By Judith Lavoie, Postmedia News

VICTORIA, B.C. (Canada) — The woman who ordered the killing of escaped former University of Victoria bunnies says her farm is under siege by feral rabbits and she is now also coping with furious bunny lovers.

“We are in a war zone. They are very dangerous people. They chased the trapper off my field,” said Barbara Smith, who lives beside a government-approved rabbit sanctuary in the Vancouver Island community of Coombs that is taking bunnies removed from the university campus.

Smith, a retired lawyer, who has horses on the nine-hectare property, said she had no idea a rabbit sanctuary had moved on to the grounds of the neighbouring World Parrot Refuge until she returned from a trip and found at least 90 feral rabbits on her hay field.

The rabbits are an introduced pest, said Smith, who contacted a trapper who shot at least 30 animals.

“I am a farmer and these things are inherently dangerous. They are akin to rats. They are not harmless creatures, they are an actionable nuisance,” said Smith, who is incensed that the B.C. Environment Ministry would allow feral rabbits in an agricultural area.

“They have dumped UVic’s problem on us, created an environmental disaster zone and walked away,” she said.

Smith contacted Wendy Huntbatch at the World Parrot Refuge Tuesday afternoon, but the trapper started shooting about two hours later, before rabbit-rescuer Susan Vickery had a chance to catch the escapees.

Smith said the rabbits had been out since the weekend, so there had been plenty of time to catch them. “She’s responsible for containing those rabbits.”

All the rabbits killed had been tattooed and sterilized after moving from the UVic campus. The death toll included some of Vickery’s pets.

On Thursday evening, Smith said she could see about two dozen rabbits in her field and another four dozen in a neighbouring field, but she has no intention of allowing Vickery on her property to catch them.

“I will deal with the rabbits on my land in whatever way I have to,” she said.

That has Vickery in a quandary as she fears the survivors will meet the same fate as the dead ones. She also worries that injured rabbits could be lying in the field.

“This was just so unnecessary. This was just someone being angry,” she said.

Vickery said it is possible some rabbits escaped a couple of days earlier, but she does not believe 90 hopped away.

“Anyway, why didn’t they contact me?” she asked. “I find their behaviour completely unacceptable.”

RCMP and ministry officials have been on site. But the officials say that as the feral rabbits are wildlife, they can be legally captured and killed, provided a firearm is not used in the vicinity of a home and the animals are killed humanely.

Penny Stone, B.C. SPCA Victoria branch manager, said shooting rabbits is considered humane, but she is saddened the property owners did not give sufficient time for the rabbits to be recaptured.

“I would have hoped people would have had a little more patience, especially knowing what these rabbits have already been through,” she said.

Meanwhile, Smith said she is receiving threats from people angry about the rabbit killings. “It is just a horror show,” she said.

Huntbatch said she delivered a bale of hay to the gate outside Smith’s home Thursday morning.

“I put a note on it saying, ‘We paid for this with our lives’ and I signed it from the murdered bunnies,” she said.

University officials in Victoria have been trying to clear the campus of about 1,400 of the estimated 2,000 abandoned former pets and their offspring.

About 400 rabbits have been captured so far and are heading for sanctuaries as far away as Texas.

The sterilization/relocation program followed an outcry from rabbit enthusiasts when the university was considering culling the bunnies.

Victoria Times Colonist

Weekend Cocktail: Applejack Rabbit

The Applejack Rabbit cocktail. Photo: Gourmet magazine


It’s almost Friday. 

For those of you who like to imbibe, here’s an interesting “new” cocktail recipe. 

The Applejack Rabbit was featured in the December 1965 issue of Gourmet magazine. 

Its mixture of apple brandy and maple syrup is sure to taste like autumn in a cocktail glass! 

Applejack Rabbit
2 oz. apple brandy
Juice of one half lemon
1 tbsp. maple syrup

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker half filled with cracked ice.  

Shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.  


Reprinted from hiphipgingin.com

Vetoed: Insurance regulation for Thumper and KittyKitty

Courtesy of CaliforniaWatch.org by Christina Jewett

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office released a long list of signed and vetoed bills Friday, and among the losers was a measure to regulate health insurance for pets.

As I wrote in August, the bill would have required pet health insurers to tell consumers about co-pay amounts, lifetime benefit limits and restrictions based on pre-existing conditions.

The bill’s author, Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, said he wrote the law because pet health care prices were soaring and constituents were complaining about pets being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Jones, an owner of two cats, enjoyed the support of the Humane Society of the United States and a pet-oriented political action committee, PAWpac.

It wasn’t enough, though, to overcome the objections of Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger. Here’s his veto message [PDF]:

This bill would provide for the regulation of pet insurance by the Department of Insurance and require various disclosures from pet insurers. Existing law provides for the regulation of various types of insurance, by the Department of Insurance, including pet insurance, if there is a demonstrated need. As such, this bill is not necessary.

Jones may still have the last word in securing better coverage for cats and dogs, though, if his run for Insurance Commissioner is successful.

What do you think about Pet Health Insurance? Take our poll and let us know.

“Rabbit Rabbit White Rabbit” For Good Luck?

A luck-bringing custom found all over Great Britain is to say ‘Rabbits’ or ‘White Rabbits’ once or three times on the first day of the month.

Origins and history
The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it has appeared in print at least as early as 1922: If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’–three times, just like that–first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you’ll get a present before the end of the month.’

However, some reports place its origins even earlier, into the 1800s.

Today it has spread to most of the English-speaking countries of the world, although like all folklore, determining its exact area of distribution is difficult.

This superstition is related to the broader belief in the rabbit or hare being a “lucky” animal, as exhibited in the practice of carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck. Some have also believed it is representing a jumping into the future and moving ahead with life and happiness.

Most of us can use a little more luck….and maybe even a present or two.

I’ll be saying, “Rabbit Rabbit White Rabbit” tomorrow morning. Will you?

San Diego Veg Week Oct 2-9

Many  San Diego HRS supporters are vegetarian and vegan. It’s hard not to be when you live with a rabbit! How many of us have been asked at the supermarket checkout, “How are you going to cook this?”

Did you know that October 2-9, 2010 in San Diego it’s Pledge to Go Veg Week? If you pledge to go veg for just one week, you can prevent animal cruelty, improve your health, and protect the environment.

When you make your pledge, Veg Week will e-mail you recipes, nutritional advice, and coupons you can use all over San Diego. Dozens of restaurants are offering specials, and you’re entered to win gift certificates and cookbooks for local vegetarian-friendly restaurants.

Mayor Sanders as well as Councilman Todd Gloria, Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, and Assemblyman Pedro Nava are taking the pledge and participating in some of the Veg Week activities.

Learn more at http://www.sdvegweek.com/

and at


Tragic news: Over 30 UVic bunnies shot after escaping from safe haven

By: Christine Tam, ctvbc.ca 

Dozens of rabbits who narrowly escaped a cull by the University of Victoria broke out of their safe haven in Coombs, B.C., Tuesday, only to be shot dead by a neighbour. 

Rabbits on the University of Victoria campus


The beleaguered bunnies were living at the World Parrot Refuge when they escaped from the compound and hopped onto an adjacent property, according to refuge owner Wendy Huntbatch.  

Huntbatch told ctvbc.ca that she received a complaint from a woman who lives beside the refuge that the bunnies were trespassing on her property. 

“She was very irate about it and she said they were pests and they were eating their grass and they have to go right away,” she said. “She was in a vicious mood.” 

Conservation officers and refuge employees were on their way to catch and remove the rabbits when they heard gunshots. 

 World Parrot Refuge employee Yvette Abgrall said it was very frightening. 

“We heard gunshots – pow pow pow pow – we started screaming and went running. There were over 30 of them shot,” she said. 

 Huntbatch said the neighbours were unhappy about the parrots and the rabbits at the refuge. They could not be reached for comment. 

“They said it was because the bunnies were eating their grass. I mean how much grass can bunnies eat? They have about 25 acres of grass,” she said. 

Huntbatch called the killings unnecessary. 

“They have as much right to life as anything. They only live eight years and they’re all spayed and neutered,” she said. 

These unlucky rabbits were among hundreds that were relocated to refuges in B.C., Texas and Washington after UVic announced plans for a mass extermination to control the population. The project was a result of animal activist groups and refuges stepping in to save the bunnies. 

Susan Vickery, spokeswoman for Ears, which heads the relocation project, told ctvbc.ca she is in shock. 

“Personally I find it outrageous and just deplorable really. We responded quickly in two hours and they didn’t even give us a chance. It was too late,” she said. 

 Cpl. Richard Van de Pol said RCMP are investigating the incident but criminal charges are not likely. 

“If a rabbit is being held captive and they leave the area they are held in they are considered to be a wild animal,” he said. “Right now there is nothing to suggest any criminality.” 

While there may not be any legal implications to shooting the rabbits, Vickery thinks there will be backlash from the community. 

“A lot of people are very angry,” she said. “I’m in shock and just wondering how I can minimize any future incidents.” 


From Phyllis O’Beollain, Dayton Small Pets Examiner

Many of us with disabled pets worry about them when we are not at home. My rabbit is severely mobility-impaired, but still she manages to scoot around her sheepskin-covered living area. The problem is, if she turns too sharply to the right, she rolls onto her “good” side and is unable to right herself.

My disabled darling BJ with his best friend Maya (cat)

I am blessed with a neighbor who faithfully checks on Oreo when I am at work, to ensure that Oreo is not stranded for hours without access to food and water. What about those not so fortunate as I?

While not an inexpensive option (approximately $300 for the system), the Vue personal video network enables pet owners to look in on their companions from a browser or iPhone or other flash-enabled device.

The Vue works by utilizing small wireless cameras – up to fifty for each gateway – that can be positioned anywhere inside the home. These cameras are the size of a package of Tic Tacs, wireless, and can be moved about depending upon where your pet tends to roam. These cameras are also easily relocatable.

You plug the gateway into your Internet router and the cameras sync up instantly. You then log onto a secure website to check in on your pets from virtually any location. You can view, record, playback and share video clips and snapshots from your browser or iPhone.

There is no software to load or storage space required on your hardware. The service plan for your VueZone.com account includes 2gb of storage for $19.95 per year – first year free. Your secure VueZone account gives you.

  • A watch page: lets you view and record live remote video from all active cameras and gateways
  • A playback page: where you play recorded/stored video and snapshots
  • A share page: lets you easily share live video or recorded content with family, friends and favorite sites
  • All the tools you need to set up and use your network – you can even schedule automatic viewing/recording

Vue comes with a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee when purchased directly from VueZone.com, and the first years’ service plan is free.

And now, a word for the nerds:

VueZone FrameMesh technology was developed for the defense department (how cool is that?) and enables streaming live video using wireless video transmission technology and battery-powered cameras. FrameMesh is a redundant, packet self-correction networking protocol. It forms the foundation of a secure, ultra-low-power wireless video camera network that installs easily and can be extended without sophisticated technical requirements.

And no, sadly, the Vue people did not send me a free sample of the system to try out, I just think this sounds like a great idea AND my TekkieFriend Alex says this is a very good value for all that you are getting. It could have so many applications: checking on elderly parents, home security, and spying on your teenagers to name a few.

You can only order the Vue online.

Lauren McCall Workshops Coming This Fall

Lauren McCall, an internationally renowned TTouch practitioner and animal communicator, will be the guest of San Diego House Rabbit Society October 16-18 when she presents three days of workshops and private consultations.

Lauren gave us a quick preview of what to expect from her appearance in October:

Chandra: We’re excited about having you back in San Diego to share your talents with our supporters. Tell us more about to expect at the TTouch workshop.

Lauren: I’m excited, too! I just LOVE working with rabbits! They are very responsive to TTouch and we have had great success in helping shelter rabbits overcome some of their fears and reactive behaviors to interact better with people so that they can be adopted out faster. Of equal importance is that they can integrate into their new home and are not returned to the shelter.  So TTouch while works for behavior issues, it’s also great for health concerns too.

Chandra: You have quite a lot of experience with rabbits, don’t you? In fact, you have a bunny of your own.

Lauren: Yes, my bunny Zoë is 10 years old now!  I use TTouch on Zoe to help her with old age issues like stiffness.  I began teaching TTouch workshops at the HRS headquarters in Richmond, California in 2000. I’ve also worked at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, and have worked with rabbits at various shelters all over the world.  I also recently created the world’s first TTouch Rabbit Associate Program, in Japan.  TTouch is excellent for reaching rabbits’ nervous systems and helping to calm them down. And as we all know, rabbits have a pretty sensitive nervous system.

Chandra: I imagine this will be great for people who live with bunnies or cats, but also for shelter workers or vet techs. What kinds of techniques will people learn?

Lauren: Expect lots of hands on fun. This is a very interactive class. I’ll teach the basic bodywork which is easy to learn; it just takes a little practice. We’ll discuss and demonstrate what can be done for specific health and behavior issues. I work very hard to tailor each class to the needs of the individual group and the animals that are there. Each participant should leave with a good feel for the basic TTouches.

Chandra: Then on October 17 you’ll offer an Introduction to Animal Communication class. Can anyone take that class?

Lauren: Absolutely! This is an ideal way to develop the ability to telepathically communicate, which we all have but have lost touch with over time. I have been teaching animal communication all over the world for almost 10 years now, and I am convinced that anyone can learn how to do it, if they practice.  We’ll work with photographs of animals and do exercises designed to help you make your own connections with animals. This is a small group workshop in a private home, the perfect setting for what will be a fun and interesting adventure.

Chandra: Then on Monday, October 18 you’ll be available for private consultations, whether people want to learn more about TTouch or animal communication, or have a one-on-one session with you and their animal friend.

Lauren: Yes, and those are open to rabbits, cats, dogs, any species.  If you can’t bring your animal, bring a photo.

Chandra: We know you are very busy, Lauren, traveling the world and spending a lot of time teaching in Japan. We’re grateful that you have the time to share your skills with the San Diego animal community. We’ll see you next month!

About Lauren’s Workshops:

On Saturday, October 16, Lauren presents TTouch for Small Animals. Rabbits and cats are welcome at this workshop taking place at the County of San Diego Animal Services North Shelter in Carlsbad. For more information and to register:


The following Sunday, October 17, Lauren offers her Introduction to Animal Communication workshop, in the intimate setting of a private home in Cardiff and a limited number of students. Participants work with photographs of living animals. For more information:


And on Monday, October 18, Lauren McCall will be available for private sessions in TTouch or Animal Communication, and rabbits, cats, and dogs are welcome to attend these. There are a very limited number of spaces left, so for more information and to register, visit:


About Lauren McCall:

Lauren McCall has spent years developing proven tools and techniques, in workshops around the world, to help you discover your innate ability to telepathically communicate with animals.  We all have this ability within us; it has just been lost over time due to our human reliance on speech.  She has an international client base for her animal communication work including the US, Europe, and Japan. Lauren travels and teaches both animal communication and TTouch and currently lives in Newberg, Oregon with her partner, 2 dogs, a cat, 2 guinea pigs and a very sweet rabbit named Zoë. Learn more about animal communication and

Lauren McCall at http://www.theintegratedanimal.com