Compassion for Langley bunnies on Whidbey Island

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Many years ago at our local county fair, a few rabbits escaped from the 4H barn and made their home on the grounds of the Island County Fair in Langley on Whidbey Island in Washington. In the beginning people felt a warmth towards these little critters, and would gasp with excitement when watching them run and jump in and out of the bushes, and buildings of the fair grounds. Slowly over time these rabbits multiplied and locals would see them beyond the fences of the fairgrounds, up and around Camano Avenue, on the field of the local school, down 6th street, and finally making their way to the outer streets of the town.  Some people have become frustrated as their gardens are being chomped by these critters, but most recently there has been frustration from the local school as the sports field now has holes that have been dug by these domestic rabbits, that are now a feral colony, looking to snack on the roots of the grass. There are some reports that some students have fallen because of these holes.  Over the last few years there have been some murmurs of people finding solutions for this overpopulation of domestic rabbits in Langley, but no actions have been taken so far. Recently there was the idea of bringing in some trained birds of prey to hunt these domestic rabbits and remove them from Langley by killing them. For anyone who has had the misfortune of seeing and hearing a bird of prey catch and carry a living animal off to a high branch, to slowly be suffocated by their unbelievably strong talons, and torn apart, while still alive, will know that this is by no way a compassionate solution to this community "problem".

Domestic rabbits for many people are family members just like dogs and cats. They are very social, affectionate, funny, cheeky, feisty and sometimes grumpy, and are wonderful family members if given the opportunity. They can be litter box trained and can live in harmony with other family pets like cats, dogs and birds. I know from first hand experience as my partner and I have rescued and continue to rescue many rabbits, some of which were dumped at another location on the south end of Whidbey Island.

I have created this petition in the hope that the people of Langley would take a more compassionate approach to the increase in rabbit population in our town. It is possible to catch, spay and neuter, and release these rabbits back into the shared habitat of Langley, or find suitable kindhearted folks to adopt them as indoor family pets.

Surely as a community we can come up with a kinder approach. Compassion is a beautiful quality that distinguishes us from animals. This compassionate approach has been successful in other neighborhoods like Green lake where there was an increase in rabbit population due to humans abandoning their family pets.

Keep in mind rabbits have social networks, and family just like you and I. They care about their family and friends just like we do. And they value their own lives just like we do. They experience physical and mental pain just like you and I.

I hope that as a community that we will reconnect with our compassionate heart, and come together to improve this situation with kindness and caring. This way everyone will benefit, not only the rabbits of Langley. We will feel good inside and as a community at tackling this issue without intentionally harming these beautiful complex animals. This will also benefit the reputation of Langley as a town. We certainly don't want to be known as a town that murders bunnies.

As always education is so important. People who have rabbits, or any other pets should always spay and neuter them, and be responsible pet carers by finding a home for their pets if they can no longer care for them. Abandoning your pet, by releasing it into the "wild" fuels these problems, and we find ourselves in situations like this.

If you would like to find a compassionate solution to this community challenge please sign this petition and send it to your friends for their consideration.

Thank you for your time.


Mel Watson

The picture above is of the first and second bunny that we rescued from a business on the highway in Clinton on the south end of Whidbey Island. Mr Brambles and Sniffles. Mr Brambles was so popular that he even had a book written about him.

Click here to see the book.

Click here for health information regarding domestic rabbits.

A recipe to deter rabbits from your garden.

If rabbits are eating your crops then fencing is the first compassionate option, and if fencing is impractical you could try making a homemade repellent. To make the repellent you need one whole spanish onion, one jalepeno pepper and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Chop up the onion and pepper.

Mix together and boil in two quarts of water for about 20 minutes. Let cool and then strain water through a cheesecloth into a container. Using a garden sprayer, spray any area outside where rabbits are being a nuisance. The process may have to be carried out for a period of two weeks to assure success. The mixture is non-toxic and safe. It will not harm the animals but will succeed in keeping them away. Also To protect bulbs from rabbits, place l/4 inch hardware cloth around them when planting. Flowers will grow through the wire.

given by Bev Luff founder of

Great Ideas from Compassionate people who signed this petition

Karin Blaine LANGLEY, WA
Create a 'rabbit hole team' of students with shovels to fill the holes- exercise - team spirit- problem solving.

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