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Rabbit overpopulation has LBCC hopping mad

March 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Easter is just around the corner. And if you need a bunny for the spring celebration, there are hundreds looking for a good home. Long Beach City College faces a rabbit invasion. At Long Beach City College, they are getting jumpy. Not the students -- the floppy-eared squatters.

They aren't wild rabbits. They are castoff pets. It started with two. And over the years, they've been busy.

"Bunnies can have a new litter about every 28 days and the average litter size is 8," said Mark Taylor, a spokesman for LBCC.

So many, officials formed the BPMTF: the Bunny Population Management Task Force.

A force of volunteers, including veterinarians, rounds them up to spay and neuter them. An adoption program is now under way. The message to the public: dumping a bunny is a death sentence. There are predators, and even battles within bunny colonies.

"We can tell a new drop-off bunny," said Donna Prindle, associate professor of physical education. "If it is a male, they are very territorial in the colonies. They chase that bunny all over campus, out into the street, it can get hit by a car. They kick and fight with each other and they can wound each other. And they have ripped ears some times. They are defending their turf and their burrow."

And holes are everywhere. Students trip in them. Two groundskeepers have blown out their knees. The bunnies are a big liability.

So staff and volunteers have turned bunny wranglers.

"This is the bunny diet. I have lost 12 pounds in the last two, three weeks chasing bunnies," said Prindle.

Yet it will be no laughing matter to anyone caught dumping a pet. It's a $50 fine and the offender could spend time in his own cage.