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The East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (EBSPCA) and Oakland Animal Services (OAS) – a unit of the Oakland Police Department, collaborated last week to rescue 21 rabbits from an Oakland home. The case, in which rabbits were being raised for food in inhumane conditions, highlights issues related to citizens raising livestock animals in the urban City of Oakland.
On Tuesday, June 22nd, a humane advocate from the East Bay SPCA visited a home to follow up on a complaint concerning rabbits; Oakland Animal Services and an Oakland Police patrol units responded to assist. At the home near Lake Merritt, they found multiple rabbits in two small, wire cages in the backyard.
In a thorough search of the yard, the rescue team found additional rabbits hidden under a plastic tub on the side of the house. Living conditions for the animals were deemed inhumane. No food or water was visible for any of the animals. The owner of the rabbits, who was allegedly raising the rabbits for food, had been feeding them only white rice.
Rabbits were found in two small wire cages, one hidden in a plastic container and three in a plastic pail under a piece of carpet.
The animals were transported to the EBSPCA where veterinary staff examined them. From the original 21 animals, three required additional veterinary care. These three, including a baby rabbit with deformed back legs most likely a result of poor nutrition, remained at the EBSPCA.
The remaining 18 rabbits were transported to Oakland Animal Services, increasing the city shelter’s rabbit population from 32 to 50. SaveABunny is working closely with Oakland Animal Services to find placement for these rabbits.
Oakland Animal Services and East Bay SPCA regularly receive calls from citizens who are concerned about livestock in their neighborhood—whether because of the smell, the noise, and/or inhumane living conditions.
Oakland Animal Services is participating in the City of Oakland Planning Department’s efforts to update the City’s zoning regulations for urban agriculture. “We want to ensure there is oversight in place on livestock in the City to prevent an increase in the number of inexperienced individuals raising and slaughtering animals inhumanely,” says Webb.
The City is hosting the first of two community workshops to obtain feedback on draft regulations on urban agriculture on Thursday, July 21st, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at 5714 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. This meeting will include discussions on the limitations that should be placed on raising and slaughtering animals for food in the City.
For additional information on the rabbits or on Oakland Animal Services, contact Megan Webb, Director, Oakland Animal Services, 510-535-5604, www.oaklandanimalservices.org.