One quarter done 0
By Damien Wood
It looks like a quarter of Canmore's feral rabbit population will be spared the axe, but not the knife.
Sunday another few dozen more of the town's caught furry fugitives were at the Animal Control Centre in Calgary, where they are spayed and neutered before being taken to private acreages north and east of the city.
An assembly line of volunteers worked to sterilise this second batch of rabbits.
It's better than mass trapping and killing, said Susan Vickery of the Earthanimal Humane Education and Rescue Society (EARS), who's been working with the mountain town to reach the alternative.
"Probably two-thirds of the ones we did a couple of weeks ago were in fact (once) people's house pets ... and we're seeing some of that again today," she said.
"Killing's not the answer and it doesn't educate people about these animals, about the serious problem of abandonment and people's responsibilities to their pets."
Originally thought to be around 1,000 or more feral rabbits in Canmore, Vickery believes the number is actually more like 600-800.
Through private donations, her people can afford the cost of keeping about 25% of the animals in sanctuaries, at a price tag of $130 per year per bunny.
She's hopeful continued generosity will allow for more rescues.
The fate of the remaining feral bunnies is unknown at this time and in the hands of the Town of Canmore.
It's the right thing to do, said Calgary Animal Bylaw boss Bill Bruce, who was among the dozen or so volunteers using the facility on Sunday, which was loaned out for the weekend.
Not a cent of taxpayer money is being spent, he noted.
"The clinic isn't used by us on the weekend," he said.
"The heat and lights have to be on anyway, and they brought everything -- all the medications (and) all the equipment."
It's professional veterinarians offering up their time to do the snipping -- Leticia Materi from the Calgary Avian and Exotic Pet Clinic said if you're going to do it, do it right.
"What's the point of putting them through all of this and not expecting that they're going to survive?" she said.
"You want them to have a long happy life, even if they're not in someone's home."
Over the summer, Canmore council had been looking at culling the lot of the feral rabbits hopping about the town -- money had been set aside and a final word was looking imminent before this option was brought forth.