Florida Woman Hopes to Rescue Domestic Bunnies That Have Invaded Her Neighborhood

The lionhead rabbits found themselves on the streets after a breeder illegally let them go two years ago.

Sandy Huffaker / Corbis via Getty Images

Bunnies have overtaken an 81-home community in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Associated Press reports that lionhead rabbits have become an invasive species in the Wilton Manors neighborhood of Jenada Isles. While some want to cull the domestic bunnies—whose current population is an estimated 60 to 100—others are hoping the animals can be saved. The animals’ numbers continue to grow because the females birth two to six babies each month.

One person who is hoping to rescue the rabbits is Alicia Griggs. The real estate agent is looking to raise $20,000 to $40,000 to pay for a rescue group to capture, neuter, vaccinate, shelter, and relocate the animals.

This particular breed isn’t meant for the outdoors or the Florida heat. In the outdoors, the lionheads live shorter lives than their typical seven to nine years, and are fodder for wild animals while their thick coats mean they overheat in the Florida summer.

The bunnies found themselves outside after a backyard breeder moved two years ago, illegally letting them go in the process.

“They really need to be rescued. So we’ve tried to get the city to do it, but they’re just dragging their feet,” Griggs said. “They think that if they do that, then they’ll have to get rid of iguanas and everything else that people don’t want around.”

However, Monica Mitchell, who heads the East Coast Rabbit Rescue—the organization that would probably capture the bunnies—told the outlet that this “is not an easy process.”

Rabbits also aren’t attractive pets to adopt because they require attention, particularly to their diet.

The lionheads have angered local residents because they dig holes, nibble on outdoor wiring, and their droppings are found everywhere. Though the city commission voted in April to get rid of the animals to the tune of $8,000, Wilton Manors is allowing Griggs to figure out how to re-home the animals. Because the rabbits aren’t a threat to wildlife, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission won’t exterminate the animals.

Police Chief Gary Blocker said in a statement, “The safety of this rabbit population is of utmost importance to the City, and any decision to involve ourselves will be certain to see these rabbits placed into the hands of people with a passion to provide the necessary care and love for these rabbits.”

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