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'They deserve to live': Group rallies to stop euthanasia of Granville Island rabbits

Dozens of animal welfare activists gathered on Vancouver’s Granville Island Sunday to protest the controversial decision to trap and euthanize the area’s growing rabbit population.

Authorities told CTV News last week that the rabbits were attracting coyotes, and that the original plan to relocate the animals to sanctuaries didn’t work out because they’re all full.

“It’s not fair, they deserve just as much a right to life as any other animal,” said Laura-Leah Shaw, organizer of the “Rally for Rabbits.”

She told CTV News she wants to see the rabbits removed, spayed and neutered and then contained, not trapped and killed.

Shaw brought along her rescue rabbit, which she said was abandoned as a baby in a parking lot in Burnaby.

And when rabbits are abandoned, it doesn’t take long for the population to explode. That’s exactly what happened on Granville Island, according to Rabbitats and Vancouver Rabbit Rescue and Advocacy. Officials with those organizations believe someone abandoned one or two pets in the area last summer or fall, and now there are around 40 rabbits in Ron Basford Park, on the southeast corner of the island.

“These are domestic pets that have been dumped, bred, and we need to help them not hurt them,” Shaw said.

She hopes a rabbitat sanctuary can be set up on Granville Island or elsewhere so the animals can live out their lives in safety.

Shaw also said she’d like to see a bylaw introduced that makes spaying/neutering a rabbit before selling it a requirement. “We don’t want them breeding indiscriminately. We know there’s too many, but they deserve to live,” she said.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander Top Stories

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