Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Grateful Bunny Named Copper

Thanks to the hard work, pleas, phone calls, and great diplomatic skills from hundreds of rabbit lovers across the world, a young agouti rabbit named Copper, about to be put down needlessby by the Tacoma Humane Society,is now living a new life at Rabbit Haven, a rabbit sanctuary in Gig Harbor, Washington. You can view their homepage at

Even now it is hard to know the truth about the reason he was to be killed. Kathleen Olsen, the director of this alleged humane society, told different stories to various people who pleaded for Copper. We were initially told that he bit a volunteer and that was the reason he had to be PTS. I was told by Ms. Olsen via email that Tacoma Humane Society doesn't euthanize for biting. Suddenly the story became he was very ill and that all the vets they had determined he had to die. How ill? This could not be determined. No one could even get to see Copper. Last Sunday he was scheduled to die until last minutes negotiations convinced Ms. Olsen, who (it is alleged) turned down a $45,000 donation from a media group in the UK who wanted to save Copper, that it was in the best interest of Copper to have a chance at a life.

Anyone knowledgable about rabbits knows rabbits only bite when they feel threatened. Rabies very rarely plays a role, as it may be with cats and dogs. If people do not properly approach or handle a rabbit, especially one who has not been neutered, they must expect an aggressive reaction. Many shelter volunteers know only cats and dogs and do not know rabbits or understand their behavior--this lack of experience may have played a part here. But the more troubling aspect to me is that Ms. Olsen, who I hear is paid $100,000 a year for this job, seemed more concerned about her own power status than helping an animal. Is this the kind of person we want running humane societies? My donations will go to places like RabbitHaven and other rescue groups, who have the animals' welfare, not the bottom line or personal pride, at heart.

This Thanksgiving, one little rabbit was pardoned from a terrible fate. He will have a happy life, thanks to the hardworking souls of compassionate people who stood up to save him. Let us continue to work hard to give all rabbits in shelters and rescue groups a happily-ever-after.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone

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