Red Deer SPCA animal care manager Amy Corpe holds one of 74 domestic rabbits the SPCA has rescued from the City Ford car dealership in St. Albert recently. For about 10 years the rabbits have been a problem at the dealership.

Red Deer SPCA animal care manager Amy Corpe holds one of 74 domestic rabbits the SPCA has rescued from the City Ford car dealership in St. Albert recently. For about 10 years the rabbits have been a problem at the dealership.

Bunny brouhaha as SPCA is swamped with rabbits

Red Deer & District SPCA are experiencing rabbit overload with 74 bunnies and counting.

Red Deer & District SPCA are experiencing rabbit overload with 74 bunnies and counting.

In recent weeks, the local SPCA has been rescuing rabbits from an overpopulated rabbit colony roaming free outside on a rural property.

SPCA executive director Tara Hellewell said 63 rabbits were rescued and 11 babies were born at the SPCA. So far three have been adopted and 11 were transferred to another animal organization.

“We are unsure of how they got there but could have been abandoned at some point and have now bred out of control. All we know is it was a critical situation. It was a case get them out, get them trapped, get them rescued,” Hellewell said on Wednesday.

“There are very few rescues with the capacity to care for this many rabbits and we are feeling the strain. This is unprecedented for us.”

Humane trapping efforts continue so more rabbits will be arriving, she said.

She said veterinary costs to take care of the rabbits and prepare them for adoption are also mounting. Each rabbit must have a medical exam and be spayed or neutered. Help from veterinarians outside the SPCA is required due to volume.

Red Deer SCPA only has a small, pocket-pet room so foster homes are also needed for the rabbits.

Hellewell said the SPCA is the place to come for people looking to adopt a rabbit and right now the best way to donate to help pay for the care of animals at the SPCA is online through Canada Helps. Every dollar donated to the SPCA by June 30 gives the SPCA a chance to win $10,000.

A link to Canada Helps is on Red Deer & District SPCA website — www.reddeerspca.com — and the SPCA’s Facebook page, or go directly to www.canadahelps.org.

Another fundraising effort underway until July 13 at 9 p.m. is the annual My Pet’s a Pin Up photo contest.

For $20, people can submit a photo of their pet for a chance to be one of the 12 pet photos featured in the calendar.

Nine of the photos will be chosen through an online voting system. For $5, people can cast five votes.

“It’s kind of a fun way to share the pictures you like and encourage your family members and friends to get involved,” Hellewell said.

Money raised by the contest and from the sale of the calendars goes to veterinary care and supplies.

“Our budget for just veterinary supplies, medication, special foods are over $50,000 a year. That doesn’t count the veterinary’s time,” Hellewell said.

Last year $14,000 was raised and about 150 photos were submitted, she said.

The online contest is open to all residents of Alberta.

Calendars will be available in the late fall. Those who submit a photo will receive a free calendar.

For more information go to http://www.gogophotocontest.com/reddeerspca.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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