Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blame Game in AfterMath of Rabbit Hoarding Case

You see the headlines every day about hoarding situations. Usually all you get are the more gruesome details and photos because that is, of course, the media's bread and butter. Get your attention, horrify you, stir up your emotions, then drop you without any background information to give the reader the ENTIRE story. In many ways, this was the case of Bunny Magic, a legal not for profit 501c3 organzation in Lusby, Maryland,  whose owner was recently brought up on charges of animal cruelty after an undercover PETA investigation revealed 200 plus rabbits were being kept in some very sorry situations. The rabbits are now at a shelter, completely overwhelmed by not only the sheer number of rabbits, but by the lack of experience in caring for them. Groups like RabbitWise are stepping in to get money for supplies to assist the shelter; RabbitWise has even offered to train the shelter people. Right now the rabbits, all of whom will need homes once released, are not accessible by anyone but shelter staff due to the impending legal case. Unlike the hoarding situations where people become animal collectors, Bunny Magic was a legitimately run rabbit rescue whose resources were limited and whose owner became overwhelmed with lack of volunteers and who suffered from the simple inability to say no when someone else had a rabbit to dump at her doorstep.

Whatever you may think of PETA, or how this case came about, if you knew Carole Van Wie and are in sympathy with her situation (let's face it, people, it can happen to any of us--the urge to save these rabbits' or any animal's lives is a powerful one), the bottom line is we need to focus our emotions on these rabbits and getting them into a better situation. And rather than berating PETA or the media for false impressions or insufficent reporting, we who love rabbits need to direct our anger at the reasons why places like Bunny Magic have to exist. Bunny Magic exists because of irresponsible profit-driven breeders who sell rabbits through pet stores, tractor supply companies, county fairs, etc. and the ignorant parents who buy cute little bunny rabbits for their very young children without bothering to do any research into the kind of animal they are bringing home to their kids. Really, think about it, brilliant idea, isn't it, to procure for a little child a PREY animal who fears every other living being on the planet?  We who care and love our rabbits need to get out there more and advocate for them by fighting the forces that perpetuate these situations. Whether it is through political action or education, all of us need to get the word out there that the people responsible for the tragic stories like Carole Van Wie's are those who buy animals instead of adopting them then dump them into strained shelters or groups or worse, just abandon them in the wild.  When I read some of the callous responses of people commenting on the Bunny Magic story, I wonder how many of these judgemental people (most of whom do not have all the facts)  could have done something rather than pass judgment. The same can be said for those rabbit companion lovers who would rather waste time whining about PETA and the media, what should and shouldn't have happened in this investigation (one could argue something should have been done years ago, but wasn't. Who is to blame for that? Why did PETA have to step in in the first place, if so many people had been aware of the grim conditions at Bunny Magic at the first place? Think about that.) 

Let's all stop now, step back, take some deep breaths, and reflect. Let's rethink our battle strategies. We need to focus on making places like Bunny Magic irrelevant. If we do that, then so many more rescue-hoarding situations can be prevented. Let's work to ACT so we don't have to REACT later. And if we must indulge in the blame game, let us put it where it really lies--with the animal-buying and animal-dumping public.

The story this blog refers to can be read here at


  1. Excellent points, Paulette! I couldn't agree more!

  2. 120 of the rabbits have been released to the shelter and can go to rescues or be adopted. Transportation is available if you need it. Even if you can take one or 2 that helps. There are a lot of rabbits to place. If interested please email