PAWS Magazine

Issue 39, Fall 1998


Redmond Rabbit Rescue

For years hundreds of rabbits have been living and breeding like, well, like rabbits, around an urban business development in Redmond. PAWS and two other local animal organizations have recently joined forces to solve the Redmond Rabbit problem once and for all.

PAWS, the Humane Society for Seattle/King County, and the House Rabbit Society have together formed the Redmond Rabbit Rescue Coalition. Volunteers with the Coalition began capturing rabbits early last month. The Coalition plans to trap all of the rabbits in the area that is home to a Microsoft building, Eddie Bauer, and several smaller businesses. After each rabbit is trapped, it will be treated for liver coccidia, spayed or neutered, and released into a special sanctuary.

"It’s a real group effort," says PAWS animal advocate Stephanie Bell. "It doesn’t place the burden on just one organization."

"This is a situation that none of us could have solved on our own," adds PAWS Advocacy Director Lisa Wathne. "When three organizations can come together like this, it certainly makes the business community want to support us."

About half of the local businesses affected by the rabbit problem chose to donate money to the project.

"The total cost for the project is $58,000," says Bell. "Seven of the local corporations came forward to donate money." PAWS and the Humane Society also donated $5,000 each toward the effort, and many individuals have donated money as well.

The first weeks of the rabbit roundups have proven successful, netting over 100 of the estimated 1,000 rabbits running loose. Volunteers will return several nights a week to round up rabbits until all are captured. The effort could possibly last a year or more.

Capturing rabbits is not a job for amateurs however. During the first night’s roundup one volunteer, with years of experience handling rabbits, found herself repeatedly scratched by scared rabbits.

Rabbits have been living at the Redmond location for several decades. It is assumed that the problem began when members of the public began dumping house rabbits into the (at the time) open fields of Redmond. The rabbits bred more rabbits and the whole population grows as more people continue to dump rabbits.

The problem has become especially pressing in recent years as new businesses have been built, killing or displacing hundreds of the rabbits from their homes. At the beginning of next year construction will begin on a new 40th street interchange on Highway 520, which abuts the site. It is expected that this project could kill and displace many more rabbits.

The Redmond Rabbit Rescue Coalition still has need for many volunteers. The most pressing needs are for volunteers to feed rabbits and change the paper in their cages. Those interested in volunteering can contact Stephanie Bell at (425) 787-2500 ext. 812.

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