May 29, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Mar Vista Man Accused of Hoarding Bunnies in Backyard

Hundreds of rabbits remain in the backyard of local man

Animal rights activists accuse a Mar Vista man of hoarding bunnies in his backyard. 

As reported by Fox 11, Joseph Franco of Mar Vista has hundreds of bunnies in his backyard. According to Franco, his backyard used to be an herb garden before he took on the bunnies as a favor. 

“We took the rabbits on as a favor to some friends, so we took two animals that were not fixed, and they told us they were fixed, so it started with a little white lie,” Franco told Fox 11. 

The rabbits quickly began to reproduce, and soon animal rescuers began to get involved. In 2019, the Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation rescued a large group of these rabbits. 

“Over 200 rabbits were in one yard, with no protection from predators. Raccoons were killing and maiming the rabbits, the rabbits fought because they were not neutered, injured one another, and did not receive veterinary care. The owner periodically took rabbits to pet stores and slaughterhouses to ‘get rid of them, but refused to neuter them to keep the population down. We found skulls with overgrown teeth, indicating that rabbits died of starvation,” reads the Foundation’s website. 

Despite the effort by the Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation, the rabbits remain, as reported by Fox 11. 

“They are sick, sick, sick, sick, sick and suffering back there and getting eaten by raccoons like every night,” Linda Bailey, director of Too Many Bunnies Rabbit Rescue told Fox. “I have a bunch of skulls that show retro bulb abscess, they’re dying horribly. He ordered us off the property when we were down to 13 rabbits.”

Franco denied these allegations that he the rabbits to the butcher.

“No, that’s not true at all,” Franco said told Fox “We provide a place for them to live and multiply and they can burrow but apparently we were doing the wrong thing. In the city limits you can’t do that.”

The City of Los Angeles is aware of the situation and has dropped crates off at Franco’s property for him to transport the bunnies to local shelters. Because the rabbits are a domestic breed, they cannot be released into the wild.

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