Mayor Keith Howell has told TC Media that with no animal control officer in the small community, there will be no action taken against the tame rabbits that have been growing in numbers.
While there’s no official explanation as to how the rabbits arrived in the community, the working theory is that the rabbits were once family pets that were turned loose. As the rabbits have been breeding, their numbers have been growing.
“It’s been going on for a few years, but now it’s starting to bother people,” he said, noting that residential gardens, plants and flowers have been targeted by the furry vegetarians.
Last week there were talks that the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods would be stepping in to handle the situation.
Howell pointed out that this was never the doing of council.
“They were contacted by an individual resident and they came out and met with the resident. They agreed there was a problem and planned to set snares,” he read from a prepared statement on behalf of council.
Department members then visited the council office and asked that council put a notice out to the public, asking residents to keep their pets in so they would not get caught in a snare.
“Council did put the notice out and this was the only involvement council had regarding this issue,” said Howell.
It was later brought to council’s attention that the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods would not be carrying out the proposed snaring and that alternative solutions would be sought.
“On Feb. 7, council was informed that a Forestry and Wildlife officer called the town office and said they were advised by their assistant deputy minister that they are not to take any action regarding this complaint and they are not be involved with this problem at all,” said Howell. “Forestry and Wildlife only deal with nuisance animals that pose a threat to the public and rabbits eating plants does not meet the criteria.”
However, the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods says it was contacted by the town and Conservation officers provided advice on possible solutions to the problem.
Because the Department only responds to problem or nuisance animals when there is a danger to public or a public emergency, the provincial entity wouldn’t be getting involved.
“The department is not involved in this matter beyond providing advice given this matter is a municipal issue and it is up to the town to determine what future action it may take,” read a statement from Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods
And because the town has no involvement with the issue, the mayor is looking at the matter as “closed.”
“We don’t have a plan in place because this has nothing to do with us, and we don’t have an animal control officer in place to take care of the situation,” he said.
Furthermore, he’s asking residents to refrain from taking matters into their own hands when it comes to the roaming rabbits.