A Center Township resident may face animal cruelty charges after Porter
County Animal Control officers discovered and removed 74 rabbits from her
garage, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said.
According to police, Animal Control Officer Patrick Cassin on June 23
investigated a complaint received regarding “several rabbits being kept in
unsanitary conditions” inside a garage in the 1400 Block of Redwing Road.
Cassin said no one responded at the property and requested police assistance
when he thought he smelled dead animals on the property.
Police said they identified a deceased rabbit in plastic bag in a trash can
near the end of the garage as the source of the smell. Through a back door
of the garage, Police said they observed rabbits that appeared “to be living
in their own feces, in cramped, unventilated conditions.”
Officers entered through the partially open front garage door and found more
rabbits living in carriers not designed for long term housing, police said.
The amount of feces in these carriers caused the rabbits to be pressed
against the top as “none had been cleaned for a very long time,” police
said, butthey did appear to have regular access to food and water.
Because the “poorly ventilated and cramped conditions posed an immediate
threat to the lives of these rabbits,” police said they made the decision to
have the rabbits removed for their safety.
Some of the rabbits showed evidence of “urine scalding” suffering from skin
burns and hair loss as a result of prolonged exposure to urine, police said.
The only ventilation source came from a box fan placed at the front garage
door and a four-inch gap at the back door, police said.
While removing the animals, police said the resident exited the home and
advised she was “behind on cleaning” but she planned to do so later in the
day. She advised it was not fair for officers to take the rabbits without
giving her the chance to clean up and improve the conditions, but she was
cooperative in assisting the transport of the animals, police said.
The resident also advised she bred rabbits for show and at least one of them
was a grand champion award winner, police said. The cause of death for the
found deceased rabbit was from heat, the resident advised.
Approximately 30 of the seized rabbits were transported to the Porter County
Animal Shelter while the others were taken to and housed at an undisclosed
location and were assessed by a veterinarian. One of the rabbits had died
overnight due to either stress or being housed next to another rabbit with a
respiratory infection, police said.
Police informed the resident of the requirements to post bond for her
rabbits within ten days of the date for their impoundment. Police on June 25
estimated the cost of care for one individual rabbit for thirty days was
$50. The bond amount was set at $3,650, the estimated cost of care for 73