Rabbitville at the Richmond Auto Mall is being dismantled as the rescued rabbits prepare to move to their new homes.
April 17th, 2014 — This weekend’s Easter Bunny Fest at the Richmond Auto Mall will be the public’s last chance to see the dozens of Richmond Auto Mall rabbits at home in scenic ‘Rabbitville’.
Families are invited to interact with the rabbits in their little villages and learn about their needs in our indoor/outdoor areas from 11 AM to 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday.
Rabbitats is also staging its final garage sale at the Auto Mall location and offering a myriad of items, many of them free or by gratefully-accepted donations, including pet supplies, furniture, housewares, knickknacks, jewellery and more.
Easter baskets, treats, cards and other Easter-themed items will be on hand as well.
Rabbitville is a rescue prototype designed for easy maintenance and the rabbits’ comfort and security and to allow gentle interaction between the rabbits and humans. We hope to share these designs with city shelters, schools, hobby farms, petting zoos and other venues housing rabbits in traditional hutches and cages.
The rabbit rescue at the Richmond Auto Mall has been a resounding success. We received overwhelming support from volunteers, sponsors and of course the Richmond Auto Mall itself.
Only a small handful of rabbits remain on the Auto Mall property.
The dozens of rabbits (just under 100) who have been housed at the current ‘Rabbitville’ location — an unused Auto Mall garage — are a mix of abandoned bunnies trapped at the Auto Mall and others brought in by the general public. They are being transported to new homes before the end of the month along with the components of their villages.
A small colony will remain at the Auto Mall until we receive permission from the government to move them (and the remaining loose rabbits), but they will not be accessible to the public. The rescue has been hampered by the provincial government’s laws and policies that designate domestic rabbits ‘wildlife’ as soon as they’re abandoned and not contained. People are allowed to trap and kill the rabbits but they are not allowed to trap and possess them without a permit.
To date they have only issued a permit to rehome the rabbits to a sanctuary in the US, something that is proving difficult. Most of the rabbits are too small for the sanctuary — the Auto Mall rabbits are mostly dwarf breed mixes — and the American rabbit rescuers are resenting the importation of more homeless rabbits when they have enough of their own to fill the spaces.
Although Rabbitats has had numerous offers from acreages, hobby farms, businesses, institutions and other destinations willing to take 10 rabbits or more along with their housing — the optimum rescue solution because it will keep the family groups together in a familiar setting — the current government policy does not allow this but we still hope to see a policy change in the near future.
We anticipate government permission to rehome some of the 45 “government bunnies,” but the status of others is still up in the air. Our domestic charges not caught up in the government red tape are being relocated to private homes and to new rescue centres in Abbotsford and South Surrey.