Rescue of freezing adult and baby bunnies in Caseyville, Illinois.
At the March hearing it was determined to delay the final hearing until April 3rd. Yesterday all of the rabbits (and chickens) were released into the custody of the House Rabbit Society of Missouri. The chickens (which were being cared for by a volunteer in Illinois) will be going to a permanent home waiting for them. The bunnies all need adoptive homes.
Basically, the breeder received a slap on the hand with a $500 dollar fine to the city of Caseyville and 20 hours of community service. Not one dime was collected for the over $5000 we have spent on the medical and daily care of these rabbits. A pretty typical outcome when it comes to animal abuse regarding rabbits.
If anyone would like to donate to help with their care, please do so via our Paypal button or by sending a tax deductible donation to our P.O. Box address (at top of this page). Donors will receive a receipt for tax purposes. Anyone interested in adoption, please submit an Adoption Application to us. Thank you!
Original story: Dear Members and Friends: Monday, Jan. 27 we ventured out in frigid darkness because rabbits were suffering and we were their only salvation.Caseyville police had been monitoring a vacant house with tame rabbits in outdoor hutches. The owner was absent and a neighbor had told officers he was caring for the rabbits. But the city's code enforcement officer went to the house four times on Monday and no one showed up with food or water. In fact, water service to the house had been disconnected. Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez took one look at the photos taken by the code enforcement officer and declared the rabbits must be removed to safety. Officers contacted area agencies, but there was none that could, or would help. Only we could provide a safe haven.
We joined the code enforcement officer and a police officer at the house. Three wire cages and a wooden hutch with compartments stretched along the side of a garage. The wire cages had no roofs; the rabbits were exposed to the elements. We had to pry boards and Plexiglas off the wooden hutch to get the rabbits. A solitary rabbit was in a wire pen in the yard. In total, we freed 29 rabbits - 19 adults, seven infants aged 2-3 weeks and three babies, 7 weeks old. One of the cages held two live, black rabbits, two dead infants and a bowl of frozen water with chew marks in the ice. One compartment in the wooden hutch held several live rabbits and seven dead infants. The temperature was 12 degrees, dropping to 5.
There were also four chickens who were severely dehydrated and malnourished, and one dead one. Sandie Konopelski, our member and a wildlife expert, took the chickens. We placed the bunnies in carriers and drove them from Illinois to The Bunny House, our shelter in Fenton, Missouri, where Joy and volunteers were preparing for them. The garage of the shelter had been organized to make space for exercise pens for our shelter bunnies so there was space to set up crates on tables for the Caseyville bunnies. They set the furnace in the garage for 65 degrees - a good temperature to transition the bunnies to the indoors.
Dr. Linda Beisswenger had finished a full day's work at Hope Animal Hospital but arrived to examine every rabbit and prescribe treatment. There were quite a few lionhead mixes, including the infants. All the rabbits were dehydrated and began drinking water as soon as bowls were placed in front of them. Two rabbits had ear mites; three had painful, crusty lesions on their faces and genitals caused by syphilis (not contagious to humans); three had bite wounds on the face or ears and one boy had swollen, infected testicles from being bitten, and other bite wounds. One girl had problems in both eyes and three of the infants had eye infections. Five of the rabbits went to stay the night in Dr. Beisswenger's hospital so they could be treated the next day. All the rabbits in the confiscation are young and, with treatment, they should be perfectly fine and adoptable.
Caseyville police have cited the man who said he was caring for the rabbits and he is scheduled to appear in court on March 6.
Many of you are helping the Humane Society with the bunnies confiscated from Franklin County and they continue to need your help. If you can help with the Caseyville bunnies contact Pat Daly: firstname.lastname@example.org Type "shelter help" in the subject line. Bless you for supporting The Bunny House. You made it possible for 29 bunnies to "come in from the cold".