200 rabbits were seized from Ms. Debe Bell, a Colorado show and livestock rabbit breeder, on July 21, 2011, on the pretext of animal abuse.
But, what REALLY happened?
The story was published by 9news.com on Thursday, July 21, 2011: http://www.9news.com/news/article/209235/339/200-rabbits-seized-from-deplorable-conditions (story was apparently removed from the 9news.com website in early 2016)
An anonymous, paid ($2,000!!) Crime Stoppers tip led the Animal Control Officer to Ms. Bell, a breeder of show and livestock rabbits. The officer, followed by a bevy of reporters schooled by the House Rabbit Society, described horrific conditions, including multiple dead rabbits.
Rabbit breeders in Colorado familiar with
the situation describe Ms. Bell as a show rabbit breeder, disease researcher, 4H leader, and supplier of prey animals to a raptor rescue organization, whose rabbits were healthy and in great shape.
The case made no sense, so in the dubious hope that a lack of education was at the heart of the matter, we wrote a letter to the sheriff of Jefferson County in Colorado. The main points of that letter are included below.
According to the news reports, the animal control officer discovered dead rabbits and live rabbits among the 200 rabbits, rabbits without food and water, and cages sitting in piles of manure.
The "shed" which housed this ‘deplorable’ situation was "warm" - 84 degrees, which was significantly cooler than the ambient temperature thanks to running swamp coolers.
The article immediately planted the thought that the owner of the 200 rabbits was a "hoarder." (Maybe if she had 200 house rabbits...)
"We have dealt with hoarding cases before," Jennifer Strickland, the shelter's director of community relations, said. "As far as 200 rabbits, that's something we haven't encountered."
She continued: "The owner may not believe that anything is wrong with the animals. I believe they are harder to care for than people think."
In the face of absurd lines of
reasoning (the breeder knew exactly how to care for her 200 rabbits and was mostly doing a great job of it), I’m
trying to convince myself that it was simply a lack of education that led to
these trumped-up charges. However, the Coloradans familiar with the
breeder, some of whom have been inside her barn and know the woman personally,
are describing a railroading (their
But okay, let’s go with 'needs-education,' which is why I wrote to the Colorado authorities:
In the Wild West, this would have been called a lynching.
(Ms. Bell was eventually found guilty of misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty based on the 'expert' opinions of those who know nothing about livestock rabbit care.)
Why would you then consult them in suspected cases of livestock abuse?
Additionally, by definition, animal rights activists (HRS included) reject the term ‘animal
welfare,’ having just one goal in mind - to achieve a society where animals are
not used at all. No farms, no pet dogs, no pet cats, no zoos. Just tofu.
You don’t have to accept my word for it. This once-hidden agenda is now a very open one: http://noanimalsleft.org/node/13.
If they cared about the welfare of animals, we'd be calling them Animal Welfarists, and I'd be one of them.
Here’s the irony of this animal abuse case:
This breeder’s 200 rabbits were subsequently mishandled by the "animal rescuers," whose main area of expertise was caring for spayed and neutered house pets:
Of course. Using cruelty charges for publicity, whether true or false, is a common method used to fund a non-profit shelter/rescue organization. God knows they can't rely on any handouts from the Humane Society of the US (HSUS).
It is not that animal cruelty never occurs. We know that it does. But in the case of these 200 rabbits, there were no legitimate cruelty issues.
It would have been far wiser, less expensive and
a whole lot more logical for the County to have left the animals in place with
the demand that appropriate measures be taken to ensure that all the cages get cleaned. Having an animal control officer drop by once or twice to verify
compliance would have been far less stressful to the animals and less costly to
Next time, esteemed practitioners of Jurisprudence and concerned citizens,
consult the HRS or Shelter organizations only if the rabbits in question are
Click below to see posts to this page from other visitors...
Defense against animal rights false accusations
Ms. Bell has been raising rabbits longer then most HRS members have been alive. Rabbits were domesticated for HUMAN FOOD animals not pets, and are close …
Years of work down the drain
Not only were her rights violated, but years of selective breeding have been destroyed. Any rabbit breeder knows how difficult it is to develop an excellent …
This woman is obviously guilty.... And...SNIP! Karen here, saying, Sorry, Haylei. As you can see, I've deleted most of your post. It was just …
What the h*** are you talking about?
Was watching the 7-news of whole thing, and in the background you can see the Sheriff's department carrying dead rabbits and eventually putting them in …
Appalled by the House Rabbit Society's actions
While this has enraged the Show Rabbit Community, what worries me even more is the violation of this woman's rights as a citizen of the United States. …
Reader Opinion about 200 Rabbit Theft Not rated yet
Sad to see that the breeder's rabbits were confiscated in this manner. Experienced rabbit custodians are very well aware that when rabbits are maintained …
Where you there? Not rated yet
How can you say anything if you didn't see the barn and the rabbits inside. Yes there were dead rabbits. 25 in all. That's my entire herd. Did any of you …
(The ability to
post your thoughts to this page has been suspended, however
you can still comment on any of the posts here.)