Rabbit rescuers run out of room
Group finds more than expected in Reno backyard
The Utah-based rescue group trying to save more than 1,000 rabbits from a backyard in southeast Reno has temporarily run out of room.
"There are a lot more bunnies than we even thought," Rebecca Preston, a leader of the effort, said Monday. "We had fencing for about 800. Now we're going to have to scramble and build more fences."
Rabbits were being transferred from the property near Reno-Tahoe International Airport to a 65 acre ranch in Lemmon Valley leased by Best Friends Animal Society of Kanab, Utah. The operation started last week and continued until 80 large cages were filled with 10 bunnies each.
"I think we are at capacity now," Preston said. "Now we just have to get more (cages)."
The rescue will resume when more cages are ready.
The society is removing rabbits from the one-acre property owned by Jackie Decker, who requested assistance from Best Friends. Decker said she'd been caring for rabbits for 28 years but became sick and couldn't deal with the large number of bunnies.
Preston estimates the society will end up with about 1,200 rabbits at the ranch.
"I would say there are 300 or 400 more," Preston said of the bunnies remaining on Decker's property. "It's hard to say. They hide."
The society, with 300,000 members worldwide, coordinated the rescue of about 7,000 animals in the Gulf Coast area after Hurricane Katrina.
Society administrators estimate the project will cost $500,000 to $1 million and said the rabbit transfer is the second-largest rescue in the organization's 14-year history.
"This is stretching us, staffwise," Preston said. "We still have people taking care of dogs and cats from Katrina."
The rabbits, which rescuers said were reproducing rapidly on Decker's property, are being spayed and neutered at the Lemmon Valley ranch.
The society operates a 30,000-acre animal sanctuary near Kanab. But Preston said Best Friends wants to see the bunnies adopted, not transferred to Utah.
"We've had 20 phone calls wanting to adopt," Preston said.