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THE TIMES COLONIST
Animal Under Attack: Rabbit with arrows through both ears is recovering
Times Colonist; with files from CanWest News Service
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Saanich police and the Victoria SPCA want to know whether someone is targeting wildlife at UVic.
Campus security called police after discovering a young male rabbit with an arrow through both its ears on Friday. Then, on Saturday, the SPCA says, it received two calls about sightings of a deer stuck with an arrow.
The black bunny is on antibiotics and was recovering Monday night in a Shawnigan Lake animal foster home. The SPCA is still trying to track down whether the phone calls about the deer were hoaxes, as no injured animal has been found around UVic.
"It's horrendous that anyone would do this," Victoria SPCA assistant manager Penny Stone said of the rabbit's injuries. "The ears are the most sensitive part of a rabbit. This rabbit was in a lot of pain."
The arrow, which she describes as metal and close to a metre long, is used for practice by competitive archers, she said.
The rabbit, which weighs slightly over two kilograms and is believed to be about a year old, was taken to an Elk Lake veterinarian who removed the arrow.
"It slid right out," Stone said.
Someone either was using the rabbit for target practice or held the animal while the ears were punctured with the arrow.
SPCA adoption counsellor Christina Barnes, who is caring for the rabbit until a home can be found, said that due to its gentle nature there is no doubt this is an abandoned pet.
She believes the animal was shot.
"Rabbits, when they are sitting, keep their ears straight up." Though the rabbit is very timid, it would have struggled much more had someone tried to hold it while piercing the ears with an arrow. There would have been more tissue damage had an arrow been pushed rather than shot through two ears, Barnes said.
The holes are about 1.25 centimetres in diameter between the mid and tip of the ears.
The rabbit is taking its antibiotics without fuss and eating vegetables and bananas, Barnes said.
It is curious about the other eight rabbits that she keeps, but is being kept separate from the others to avoid further trauma as the animals can be very territorial, she said.
Meanwhile, the SPCA is wondering about two calls left on an answering machine Saturday morning. A man and a woman both reported seeing on campus a deer that had been shot by an arrow.
"We don't know if it is a hoax," Stone said. "We can't do anything until we find the deer."
The SPCA is asking anyone who knows anything about either incident to call its office or Saanich police. Charges of cruelty to animals can be laid under either the Criminal Code of Canada or the SPCA Act, Stone said.
Saanich police Const. John Price said there doesn't seem to be a connection between the rabbit shooting and the wounded-deer sighting.
"If the deer (report) does pan out, we have a problem, obviously," Price said.
Meanwhile, police are treating the rabbit shooting as an isolated incident, he said.
Police have the arrow, which has a metal tip, in an evidence lockup. Investigators hope to get to the bottom of the shooting as they are concerned about someone using such dangerous weapon in public.
David Clode, UVic's executive director of student and ancillary services, said there is no reason to suspect a student was involved, but anyone found in possession of a bow and arrow would be kicked out of residence.
If it is not a student, the university is concerned an outsider would come on campus to pick on a rabbit, he said.
UVic does not have an archery team or club.
This is the not the first time a rabbit has been targeted on campus. Last
winter, a student was charged after punching a rabbit, which later died of its injuries.
The student, now in second year at UVic, pleaded guilty in Nanaimo provincial court Sept. 22 to causing unnecessary cruelty to an animal.
He was given an absolute discharge, meaning he was spared a criminal record.
The student, who was drunk at the time of the incident, was evicted from residence, but remained enrolled.
Clode said the university does not penalize bad non-academic behaviour with academic sanctions.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2004