Wave of feral-rabbit deaths prompts transfer to save once-exploding population

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L.E. Baskow Feral bunnies crowd the premises of a Las Vegas center on July 29. Abandoned family pets or their offspring, these animals depend on volunteers to offer them food, water and often treatment, however organizers of Bunnies Matter Las Vegas state resources are limited.

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018|2 a.m.

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Animal rights supporters say they are scrambling to round up feral bunnies roaming the grounds of a state psychological health center in Las Vegas after numerous animals just recently were found dead.

Authorities with Bunnies Matter in Vegas Too fear someone is poisoning the bunnies at the Desert Willow Treatment Center in the 6100 block of Charleston Boulevard and are trapping the remaining animals to set up for adoption.

At one point, the rabbit population at the facility blew up to an approximated 1,200 after family pet owners discarded unwanted animals, which naturally multiplied, officials said. But it appears there are now just a couple of hundred left.

It is uncertain why the bunnies passed away, although authorities with Bunnies Matter believe they may have been purposefully poisoned with antifreeze.

Karla Delgado, a spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Health and Person Providers, which supervises the treatment center, said the agency is worried about the sudden death of the rabbits however does not understand exactly what is causing it.

Delgado said the deaths have been reported to Nevada Capitol Police, which is in charge of security at the center.

In the meantime, animal rights advocates fear they have little time to rescue the remaining bunnies prior to they die too. “The time is now,” said Dave Schweiger, a volunteer with Bunnies Matter.

Bunnies have been residing on the premises of Desert Willow for a minimum of 5 years. In 2015, the state awarded V Animal Sanctuary a $17,000 agreement to catch them. Handlers captured more than 200 bunnies, however the population rebounded within 6 months.

There are likewise concerns that the bunnies might spread illness, an idea dismissed by supporters as a scare method.

The Southern Nevada Health District alerted that the rabbit population at the place created a public health danger due to the fact that they may bring diseases such as rabies.

However a change.org petition begun by Bunnies Matter says the public health notification references one illness not active in Nevada and two others that, inning accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are not found in domestic rabbits in Southern Nevada.

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