LBCC discouraging rabbit owners from dropping off bunnies on campus

Dr. Diane McClure (right), associate professor of Veterinary Medicine from the Western University of Health Sciences, is caring for one of the abandoned bunnies along with a first-year veterinary student.

Dr. Diane McClure (right), associate professor of Veterinary Medicine from the Western University of Health Sciences, is caring for one of the abandoned bunnies along with a first-year veterinary student.

Historically, there is a surge in the number of rabbits that are abandoned at Long Beach City College’s (LBCC) Liberal Arts Campus (LAC) each Easter season. Hundreds of domesticated rabbits have been abandoned on campus in recent years, which has created a host of problems, especially for the rabbits who have been released into the wild when they should be cared for as pets.
“People are under the false impression that LBCC is a safe haven for rabbits, so they tend to drop them off when they are no longer wanted as family pets,” said Jacque Olson, a LBCC employee who has provided care for the rabbits for years. “Unfortunately, the rabbits live in unsafe conditions and are injured and preyed upon by predators because they were bred to be pets.” The college is trying to raise awareness of this issue to prevent others from abandoning their pets on campus. Signs are being installed, and campus police officers will begin enforcing local codes that subject anyone who abandons an animal to a $500 fine.
“The abundance of rabbits and their rapid reproduction rate has wreaked havoc on the grounds at LAC,” said Mark Thissell, LBCC’s facilities director. “The rabbits dig holes throughout the campus, which create trip and fall hazards for students and staff and destroy thousands of dollars of landscaping.”
To control the population growth of the rabbits that are already on campus, veterinarians from Western University of Health Sciences have started to spay and neuter the rabbit population. Campus volunteers will collect rabbits, transport them to the veterinary facilities, and provide post-surgical recovery care.
“These rabbits are not wild rabbits– they are pet rabbits who have been abandoned,” said Dr. Diane McClure, associate professor of Veterinary Medicine from the Western University of Health Sciences. “These bunnies are so happy and relaxed to be in a sheltered environment with adequate food and water. They deserve to have a forever home.”
Rabbits that are suitable for adoption will be made available in approximately six weeks free of charge to people who would like to adopt a rabbit as a pet and can demonstrate their ability to provide a permanent home.
LBCC formed a Rabbit Population Management Task Force, composed of faculty, students and staff, who worked with two well-known animal advocacy groups to design the college’s response to rabbit over-population: Best Friends Animal Society and The Bunny Bunch.
Debby Widolf, from Best Friends, said she commends LBCC for its enlightened and humane approach to its abandoned rabbit population. “It is a model of kindness that other institutions should follow if faced with similar issues. I look forward to working with the Task Force to find appropriate homes for as many rabbits as possible.”
For more information on adopting a spayed or neutered rabbit from LBCC, contact Jacque Olson at jolson@lbcc.edu or (562) 938-4370, or Donna Prindle at dprindle@lbcc.edu or (562) 9384356.
For information on boarding rabbits, call Rabbit Rescue Inc. at (562) 862-8844.

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