While the recent Vancouver Stanley Cup riots took place, a smaller but equally brutal attack was made in Coombs where 20 rabbits from the sanctuary at the World Parrot Refuge were massacred.
Susan Vickery, founder of the animal welfare charity that looks after the rabbits said she was horrified when she showed up early the next morning to discover a dead rabbit laying outside the entrance to the sanctuary.
“That was my first clue and then when I looked inside all the ravens and crows were pulling apart the dead bodies.”
Vickery said she is certain it was a person and not an animal that did the damage, climbing over and damaging fences to get access to the rabbits who were locked safely in their pens.
At first she went numb, she said, as she spends countless hours with the rabbits and treats them like her own pets. She was unable to report the incident at first, but spent some time trying to gather her composure. She was also scared about the safety of the other 600 or so rabbits that were rescued from the University of Victoria and live at the sanctuary, she said.
“It took me awhile, I can’t explain it,” she said. “Just feeling very depressed and unhappy and confused.”
Vickery looked for evidence suggesting it could have been an animal, but the way the fences were damaged and the little amount of evidence left behind, she believes the rabbits were crushed to death under someone’s boots. A baby goose who was housed in a pen with two rabbits managed to survive, while his pen mates did not.
Since the incident took place a surveillance system has been donated along with an alarm system, and a technician has volunteered to install them.
Also an employee of the World Parrot Refuge, on the same grounds as the sanctuary, has moved into the cottage located yards from the sanctuary, to keep an eye on the grounds. Vickery said all this has made her feel more at ease about the safety of the remaining rabbits.
The welfare charity Vickery founded is called Earth Animal Humane Education and Rescue Society (EARS). She is currently involved with helping set up a similar rabbit sanctuary in Canmore, Alberta where there is an over abundance of feral rabbits.
For more information or to make a donation to EARS visit www.earthanimalrights.org.