Rabbits to be killed at Richmond shelter after deadly virus detected

An animal shelter in Richmond has been advised to euthanize all 66 rabbits in its care

An animal shelter in Richmond has been advised to euthanize all 66 rabbits in its care after confirmation that several animals have tested positive for rabbit hemorrhagic disease.

The virus can cause death within hours and the Regional Animal Protection Society, which operates the Richmond Animal Shelter, says it was likely introduced by infected feral rabbits that were found dead on the property.

RELATED: Lower Mainland rabbits confirmed killed by highly-infectious virus

A news release from the society says the Ministry of Agriculture advised all the rabbits at the shelter should be euthanized after tests confirmed the presence of the illness.

The ministry also ordered the destruction and replacement of all rabbit-related facilities, enclosures, supplies, equipment and anything that came in contact with any of the bunnies.

The current outbreak marks only the third time rabbit hemorrhagic disease has been detected in Canada and the first time it has been reported in B.C., but the virus has already caused the deaths of hundreds of feral rabbits in Nanaimo, Comox and Delta.

The society says it is working with the City of Richmond, the Ministry of Agriculture and the SPCA to ensure that everything possible is done to prevent the continued spread of the disease, which causes hemorrhaging, and attacks the liver and other organs.

Eyal Lichtmann, executive director of the Regional Animal Protection Society, says the shelter has a no-kill policy and staff and volunteers are devastated by the order to euthanize the rabbits, but he says it’s the humane thing to do.

RELATED: Virus killing rabbits on mid Island

“Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is a horrific illness and to see an animal suffer and die from it is an excruciating experience which our staff had to endure in recent days. Sadly, by the time symptoms are evident, RHD is usually too late to treat,” Lichtmann says in the release.

A vaccine against the disease is being made available to veterinarians and clinics around B.C. and Lichtmann says the shelter had already placed its order before the outbreak occurred.

When the shipment arrives, the society says it will donate its portion to other animal organizations in B.C.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Hospice to Vernon council race candidate dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Vernon Mosaic River officially unveiled Saturday

The art piece is located Cenotaph Park in downtown Vernon.

A magical dance comes to Vernon

The Father-Daughter Ball took place in Vernon Friday

Second bocce tourney boosts mental health cancelled

Predator Ridge Resort was to host the one-day event in partnership with Greater Vernon Bocce Open for mental health awareness

Garage sale to aid in kidney transplant recovery in Vernon Saturday

The event is set to take place at the Autoplex on 29th Street from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

Most Read