Chesterton Tribune

Animal control seizes 74 rabbits from Center Township garage

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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 rabbits.

 

Posted 7/2/2012