It started out with just one rabbit and a small garage. It ended with a call to animal services and the discovery of 62 rabbits.
A police officer was responding to an unrelated call in Santa Ana, CA when he spotted at least a dozen rabbits wandering near a house on the 400 block of South Broadway. Because local law only permits four rabbits per household, the officer contacted animal services to report a possible rabbit hoarder.
Animal Services tracked the rabbits to a detached, 200-square-foot garage where a woman who was only identified as “Blanca” was living with 62 rabbits, some only a few days old. A few of the rabbits were in cages, and there were lights to set up to keep them warm.
“There is a pretty overwhelming smell inside,” Santa Ana Police Animal Services supervisor Sondra Berg told a local ABC affiliate. “The garage is a very small room, and you have about 35 rabbits in there, a lot of them crammed into cages.”
“If there was anyone that ever needed a screen on their garage door, it was this woman. Let the fresh air in with a retractable garage door screen,” says Frank Kerski of Screenex.
Nine of the rabbits were pregnant, which corroborates Blanca’s story. She told authorities that she started with one rabbit and allowed it to go outside. It found a mate, got pregnant, and suddenly Blanca was practically drowning in the furry creatures.
Blanca also told Animal Services that she wanted to go to someone for help with the rabbits, but she was told she’d be arrested if anyone found out and that the animals would be put down.
Though the rabbits were living in unsanitary conditions, four to five in each cage, most of the rabbits were found to be in good health. Blanca gave up the rabbits voluntarily and is not being cited by authorities, who seem to believe that the situation was just a mistake.
“She started with one, but I don’t think she knew that they multiply very quickly,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told the Orange County Register. “They overwhelmed her.”
Officers from the Santa Ana Animal Services department took the rabbits, including nine pregnant animals, on Wednesday morning. Except for several newborns which had to be euthanized due to health issues, most of the rabbits are being assessed and cared for at O.C. Animal Care until they can be placed by various animal rescue agencies.
Anyone who wants to adopt a rabbit can call O.C. Animal Care at (714) 796-6426.