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Readin', 'Ritin', and Rabbits

College combats bunny overpopulation with a TNR/adoption program

Long Beach City College isn’t the hoppin’ place it used to be—and that’s good news.

Once, the community college south of Los Angeles teemed with hundreds of abandoned pet rabbits and their offspring. Dropping them off on campus had become a misguided local tradition dating back 30 years or more, says Jacque Olson, an administrative assistant for the dean of physical education and athletics. Local residents would typically drive into a parking lot near some bushes, open the car door, and dump out their unwanted rabbit—a practice that Olson points out is not only inhumane but against the law in California, punishable by a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

The college traditionally receives an influx each spring shortly after Easter, Olson says. Families get a cute, cuddly bunny for the holiday and suddenly realize that rabbits can require nearly as much work as a dog or cat. Children and parents quickly lose interest in cleaning the rabbit cage every day, so they opt to drop the bunnies at the college.

“They think it’s like a Disneyland for rabbits, because it’s a green campus, and there’s lots of open spaces, and they think rabbits want to run free,” Olson says. “They don’t look at it from the rabbits’ point of view—that the rabbits struggle to find shelter, and they struggle to find food, and if it weren’t for a few employees on campus putting out feeding and watering stations, those rabbits would starve to death.”

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