Friday, March 19, 2010

Velma Muessemeyer "Rabbit Lady" - Missouri

Mar 19, 2010: Judge Will Allow "Rabbit Lady" to Keep Some of Her Animals

By: Nathan Woodside

A judge will allow a Parkway Village woman known as the "rabbit lady" to keep about 50 of the 159 animals that the Missouri Humane Society seized from her last month.

According to court documents, Velma Muessemeyer will be allowed to raise 40 rabbits and two dogs, four chickens, four roosters, one duck and one guinea pig pending an inspection and approval of her property and animal cages by humane society officials.

All of her rabbits will be taken and she will have to obtain a new stock for her rabbit ranch, but she is allowed to keep 40 at any one time, if the humane society approves of the animals' living conditions. Her cats may be returned to her if their health is cleared by a veterinarian.

Besides the more than 60 rabbits she will lose, she also won't get back three baby goats she was raising in her home.

Muessemeyer also must agree to allow random and frequent inspections by the humane society during regular business hours, noted as Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Associate Circuit Judge David Tobben found that the animals, which included more than 100 rabbits, were properly seized by the authority of the search warrant and the animals will continue to be kept by the Humane Society of Missouri pending the stipulations outlined in the agreement..."

Mar 3, 2010: 'Rabbit Lady' Tells Her Side of the Story

By Nathan Woodside

Velma Muessemyer says she doesn't have much use for a name.
"Everyone just calls me the rabbit lady," she said. "That's how everybody knows me."

She walked through a gauntlet of wire cages stacked on the porch of her dilapidated home on Monday. The cages were empty for the first time in nearly half a century.

She has little living family, no children and no husband.

Velma's love for animals runs deep, she says. She recently took in three baby goats who lost their mother. She let them live inside with her as she nursed them to health.

Nearly everyone has a story about the rabbit lady. She's sold the animals for decades as pets to children and as food.

She's also taken in animals from citizens who could no longer care for them.

At one time, Velma had more than 600 rabbits. Since then, she's cut back quite a bit.

Last Thursday the Missouri Humane Society's Animal Control Task Force and Franklin County deputies seized more than 100 rabbits, three dogs, five cats, a guinea pig, three baby goats, four hens, two roosters, two pigeons and two ducks from her home in Parkway Village, near St. Clair.

The human society said the animals were living in filthy conditions and were being neglected..."

Mar 4, 2010: 'Rabbit Lady' Hearing Postponed

By: Nathan Woodside

The hearing for a Parkway Village woman who had more than 100 rabbits and more than a dozen other animals seized from her home near St. Clair was postponed Wednesday.

Franklin County Judge David Tobben granted the request to give Velma Muessemeyer, known locally as the "rabbit lady", another week to seek legal council.

The new hearing date will be Wednesday, March 10 at 2 p.m.

Nearly 20 supporters of Muessemeyer packed the small courtroom Wednesday. The woman said she has no money for a lawyer, but friends said they would help her raise the funds.

Thursday afternoon several people were seen loading refuse from Muessemeyer's property onto flatbed trailers and cleaning up her property..."