Cemetery Bunnies – There’s a Moral to this Story

14Jul11

Last night Chad and I went out with the intention of taking urban and city photos. Instead what we found ourselves photographing was bunnies in a few local  cemeteries.

I first noticed a white bunny sitting by a grave. Now this wasn’t the native jack rabbit that is common in Calgary. This was the kind of bunny you would find at a pet store – the kind people buy at Easter for their kids. We were waiting for the sun to drop out from behind the clouds, so we decided to take a few photos.

As I wandered around a bit more, I noticed a few other bunnies. There was another white one and a tan-colored one hopping around an alley. We figured they must have gotten out of a cage or been abandoned by the owner. We proceeded to take a few city shots and then moved onto another cemetery. As the sun went down, more and more bunnies came out. There were older fat ones and young babies nibbling on grass, socializing and sleeping. I figure there were at least 20-30 that we saw, but there were likely many more hiding from sight. You know the expression “multiply like rabbits…,” well they do indeed multiply!

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From a photographer point of view, it was great to capture images of these bunnies. However, as I said, there’s a moral to this story…

According to the Calgary Humane Society, there are hundreds of domestic bunnies in the wild around Calgary. They receive at least 3 calls a day from citizens that have spotted the bunnies and  ask what to do about them. The CHS does take in any bunnies if people have caught them; and if they are friendly, will put them up for adoption. However, they do not try to capture them.

The question I began to ask myself was why would someone just release a bunny into the wild? Under Alberta’s Animal Protection Act and federal animal welfare legislation, “releasing” a bunny – or any pet for that matter – into the wild is considered abandonment. According to the Calgary Humane Society Animal Welfare Position Statements abandoned animals often die of starvation, exposure, or killed by other animials or vehicles and leads to unnecessary suffering by the animal. The abandoned animals, especially in the case of bunnies, can quickly multiply and become a nuisance to the community.

The CHS states, “Abandonment is particularly blameworthy and inhumane since pet owners can surrender unwanted pets to the Calgary Humane Society. The Calgary Humane Society is an open admission shelter and never turns away an animal in need.”

I have chosen at this point in my life to not be a pet owner. Even though I grew up with dogs and other pets, I realize the commitment that is required to take care of an animal and I have made a conscious decision to not own pets. Yes, when I first saw these bunnies I thought, “They’re sooo cute!!” but that does not mean that I am equipped to own one. Next time you are considering the purchase  of a pet, do your research on their care and requirements as well as their lifespan and ask your self whether or not you are willing to make that kind of commitment EVERY single day for the life of the animal. They are living creatures that deserve  respect. They are not toys that can be tossed when the novelty wears off.

If you find yourself in a position where you are unable to take care of a pet, consider finding another home or surrendering it to the Calgary Humane Society where it can be placed with someone else.

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2 Responses to “Cemetery Bunnies – There’s a Moral to this Story”

  1. 1 Chadwick Dawes

    My cousin lives on an acreage past Chestermere. at least a couple times a month people slow down and throw their cats out. If she sees it she will run out and try and get to it before the dogs do and kill it. Often the cats are declawed and well groomed so obviously house cats who have never lived in the wild. Unfortunately, most don’t survive very long out there. Even in the dead of winter it is a major problem.

  2. Reblogged this on Barb Briggs Photographer and commented:

    Seeing how it’s Easter, I thought it fitting to repost this blog.


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