A last minute proposal by bunny lovers in Canmore may see the cuddly creatures saved from a full out cull.
Canmore council met Tuesday night to approve its feral rabbit management plan and faced both opposition and support from the public.
However it was a last minute proposal and presentation by Save Canmore Bunnies as a non-profit to create a program that would spay or neuter the animals and relocate them to a sanctuary that saw politicians amend the plan.
“We submitted this letter asking you to consider a third solution pertaining to these rabbits,” said Angela Schrempf with the group. “We are proposing to capture them spay and neuter them and release them to sanctuaries we understand this method is more expensive but we have set up a website and are collecting donations.”
Schrempf requested an opportunity to submit a non-lethal proposal to solve the feral rabbit issue.
Mayor Ron Casey followed the presentation with an amendment to the plan that allows a spay/neuter and relocation program to be put forward as part of a request for proposal process.
“All this does is provide an option for what we are trying to achieve here which is having the rabbits gone from Canmore,” said the mayor reiterating that the issue for the community is one of rabbits as a wildlife attractant. “It is not a great situation we have ended up in and nobody wants to be in this situation but we have all reached the point where we have to do something.”
A further amendment by Councillor Hans Helder made it clear the non-profit society would bear part of the expanse of a proposed program that includes sterilization of the animals.
“This is a question of practicality it is always very easy to come up with schemes and ideas for solving an issue for which you have no accountability,” Helder said. “If the individuals who are speaking and writing are strongly in favour of spaying and neutering and sending to a facility rabbits from Canmore they should step up to the responsibility of paying for this solution.”
Not all councilors supported adding the option questioning whether trapping, anesthetizing, sterilizing, rehabilitating and relocating rabbits is more humane than euthanasia.
The final decision on which proposal is to be chosen is expected to return to council by the end of October this year.