The BC SPCA is increasing patrols in the Minoru Park area of Richmond, after a disturbing video surfaced of two people allegedly letting their dogs loose to maul wild rabbits.
The Richmond News reported last week how a video, doing the rounds on social media, claimed to catch a man and woman with two off-leash dogs that had mutilated rabbits in the park at night.
The man who shot the video reported the incident to the BC SPCA and Richmond RCMP.
However, the BC SPCA told the News that the rabbits are outside of its jurisdiction and fall under the care of the B.C. Ministry of Environment (MOE).
A spokesperson for the BC SPCA added, though, that it has “increased patrols in the area by the animal control officers.”
Richmond RCMP, meanwhile, told the News that, while the man who shot the video found dead rabbits in the area, “he did not observe the dogs or the individuals killing the rabbits.”
The RCMP spokesperson added that police “conducted an investigation but no evidence linking the dogs or the two individuals to the death of the rabbits was identified.”
He did, however, encourage anyone who witnesses or is involved in a suspicious incident, such as this, to contact police right away.
The News has reached out to the MOE for comment.
The male recording the video about two weeks ago appears to confront the pair about their behaviour, provoking an aggressive exchange between the two parties.
Both dog owners claim in the video that the rabbits have been dumped by parents who bought them for their kids for Easter, so are essentially fair game for their dogs.
They add that the rabbits are an invasive species and their demise in the park is simply the "circle of life."
As the man behind the camera follows the couple, the male dog owner turns back and threatens him with violence if he doesn’t back off.
The video then shows graphic images of dead and mutilated rabbits. The poster claims on YouTube that the dog owners were sending their pets into the bushes to kill the rabbits.
Sorelle Saidman, founder of the Rabbitats Rescue Society, told the News last week her volunteers are “constantly faced with people (letting) their dogs on the loose rabbits for 'sport'.”
Saidman added that the domestic rabbits, even the rabbits born feral for generations, “lack the same fear responses as their wild cousins.”
“They have different brain structures. They are sitting ducks for abuse. It's a huge animal welfare issue that's being totally overlooked.”