A woman who had more than 1,100 rabbits seized from her home pleaded guilty to causing an animal distress on Monday.
Shelley Zenner was charged with various offences under the Animal Protection Act after the Humane Society seized 567 rabbits from her Edmonton-area home in March 2010. Because so many of the animals were pregnant, the Humane Society ended up with 589 rabbits.
An additional 542 rabbits had been seized from the home between fall 2008 and March 2010.
Apr 7, 2010: Three charged in Edmonton rabbit house case
BY BEN GELINAS
Three Edmonton residents have now been charged after the single largest seizure of rabbits in the Edmonton Humane Society’s recorded history last month.
The 589 bunnies seized by animal protection officers on March 12 were in poor health. Many were found to be carrying the highly contagious and untreatable disease “Snuffles” and all had to be euthanized, society spokeswoman Shawna Randolph said Wednesday.
There’s no city bylaw stopping hare-crazy Edmontonians from hoarding hundreds of rabbits.
And some people are hopping mad about it.
“We need to make sure there’s tougher laws in place,” said Lori Herlidan, who runs Edmonton-based New Beginnings Rabbit Rescue.
“We need to have a heavier hand with that.”
Until being snapped up by animal control workers last month, 500 rabbits had been living rent free in a $500,000 Riverbend home.
Some living in air vents and cupboards, the cuddly beasts had been hopping around the 2,297-square-foot home at their own speed, chewing apart floorboards and electrical wires.
The rabbits were seized from the house — layered with feces and fur — following a provincial environmental health order March 15, demanding the property be vacated until it was improved to a “safe and habitable condition.”
But neighbours are convinced a massive rabbit population will return to 730 Haliburton Cres. — unless a bylaw is created to stop the bunny-fanatics from restoring their collection.
“If they (the homeowners) are allowed to move back in, there’s going to be problems,” said one neighbour, requesting anonymity.
Under city bylaws, homeowners are allowed to have up to three dogs and six cats.
But there’s no limit to the amount of birds or bunnies living in Edmonton abodes.
Unless animals are in danger, the city’s paws are tied when it comes to enforcing rabbit overloads, said Edmonton’s animal control coordinator.
“From a bylaw perspective, there’s nothing we can do,” Keith Scott said. “There are other agencies that deal with those things.”
Some city councillors said they were willing to review the bylaws, but added they didn’t suspect it would be necessary to put a rabbit limit on households.
“I don’t really know whether we require changes to the bylaw,” said Coun. Amarjeet Sohi. “I think people should use common sense.”
Sounds of a barking dog and a running vacuum could be heard inside 730 Haliburton Cres. on Wednesday, but the people inside didn’t answer the door.
The house is owned by Shelley Zenner and her adult son Quentin, who recently moved out.
His wheelchair-bound grandma, Edna Zenner, lives at the house too.
Relatives said the rabbit-hoarding clan had long moved from their Debolt, Alta. hometown and ostracized themselves from most of the family..." More
Mar 30, 2010: Hundreds of rabbits removed from Edmonton house
Two residents were ordered to leave their southwest Edmonton home earlier this month after the house was ruled uninhabitable due to the urine-stained floors, droppings and hair from hundreds of rabbits inside.
"The house was in an unsanitary condition caused by over 500 rabbits that lived, unconfined, throughout the house," environmental health officer Sandra Hamilton wrote in an order on March 15.
The residents were ordered to leave their house within seven days and return it to a "safe and habitable condition."
The rabbits were removed by Edmonton Humane Society animal protection officers on March 12, according to spokeswoman Shawna Randolph.
Randolph said she could not say how many rabbits were actually seized until charges are laid, but said it was "more than 500." Neighbours say the rabbits were running free for about three years.
According to the order, heat vents in the house on Haliburton Crescent were blocked by dust, hair and droppings. Missing floor coverings exposed a subfloor contaminated by rabbit waste.
Rabbit droppings, hay contaminated with rabbit droppings and drywall stained with rabbit urine were found inside the house and another pile of droppings was discovered in the driveway..." More
The bunnies were living in a Terwillegar area home on Haliburton Crescent that has been on the society’s radar for more than a year.
Animal protection officers had been working with the family prior to the seizure.
Over the last several months, the family surrendered 542 additional rabbits, which were generally healthier than those seized in March. The majority of those have been put up for adoption.
This one house on Haliburton has provided the society with the majority of its rabbits up for adoptions over the last year and a half, Randolph said. In 2008, the society put 312 rabbits up for adoption; in 2009, they put 432 rabbits up.
The society averaged 55 a year prior to 2008.
Randolph could not discuss the reasons why this one family had allegedly accumulated so many domesticated rabbits.
Shelley Zenner, Edna Zenner and Quentin Zenner have each been charged with causing distress, failing to provide adequate care for sick or wounded animals, failing to provide food and water, as well as shelter, ventilation and space.
The rabbits were seized March 12 and an inspection several days later showed the home was not fit for even humans to live in. A March 15 report detailed a long list of safety hazards and disease risks, including large holes in the wall revealing exposed electrical wires being chewed by rabbits..." More
Jun 13, 2012: Woman, 44, hoarded 1,100 rabbits in her dilapidated two-storey homeDec 19, 2011: Alberta woman pleads guilty to hoarding 1,100 bunnies
A woman who hoarded more than 1,100 rabbits in her house has been fined $8,500 (£5,300) and banned for life from keeping more than one animal as a pet.
Shelley Zenner, 44, from Edmonton, Canada, was also ordered to take psychological counselling after earlier pleading guilty in court of causing distress to an animal.
A court heard how animal protection officers raided Zenner's two-storey home on March 12, 2011, and removed 589 rabbits - the largest single seizure of rabbits Edmonton Humane Society officials have ever witnessed
They said the bunnies were everywhere, living in an environment full of urine and faeces with many injured or missing eyes or limbs.
Almost all of the rabbits were euthanised by EHS because they were suffering with the highly contagious, fatal respiratory infection known as snuffles.
Her home in Terwillegar, south west Edmonton, had been under surveillance since 2008. More than 1,100 rabbits were either removed or surrendered from the home over three years..." More