UPDATE: State issues public health notice for bunnies near mental health complex

UPDATE FEB. 16: The state of Nevada has issued a public health notice in regards to the feral bunny population.

According to a statement with the Department of Health and Human Services, the feral rabbits are "creating a safety risk to the public, the presence of these animals creates a high potential for clients, staff, and visitors to contract disease."
 
"Feral rabbits can carry bacterial and viral illnesses that can be transferred to humans, such as Tularemia and Salmonellosis when contact is made with the animals, fecal material or contaminated soils.  Predators attracted to the rabbits may be common carriers of rabies."
 
The Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Environmental Health Section offered the following suggestions to protect the public health while the rabbits remain on the grounds and the hazards present are removed:

  • Contact with the animals, fecal material, contaminated soils and contaminated grass must be avoided by all staff, clients and visitors.
  • A public notice has been posted at the facility to notify the staff, clients and visitors of the potential health risks present and to avoid contact.
  • Strict handwashing procedures should be in place for all staff, clients and visitors that may have come in contact with the animals or contaminated grounds.
  • Providing food and water to the feral rabbits must cease immediately.
  • Trapping activities will begin to relocate the animals, please ensure that traps are not tampered with or taken away from the grounds

ORIGINAL STORY

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) -- Hundreds of bunnies are roaming outside of a mental health complex near Charleston and Jones boulevards. And the local group that takes care of them is upset after someone threw out their food and water dishes.

Stacey Taylor is in charge of the group Bunnies Matter in Vegas Too. She and a few dozen volunteers take care of the 800 homeless bunnies near the complex.

The bunnies have been reproducing on the property for 15 years. Stacey and her group have been actively trying to remove them and adopt them out for the past four years.

"It seems like every time we get close to a solution or helping [the bunnies], we get interference from the State or their employees," said Stacey. "There's been a lot of obstacles."

The latest obstacle - someone threw out a handful of water and food dishes.

"It's just sad that instead of allowing us to move [the bunnies] or saying, 'Hey, could you move them over there?' She decided just to throw away our stuff," Stacey continued. She also said that by taking away their dishes, it's only prolonging the process of getting the bunnies healthy enough to be spayed/neutered and rescued.

"No one wants to walk through bunny poop. I totally understand that. But it is what it is," Stacey said. "They're going to poop regardless if they have [their food dishes] or not, so throwing these away - it was just malicious. That's how I feel."

The State tells 13 Action News the issue was addressed, and State employees were told not to touch the bowls in the future.

Print this article Back to Top