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

Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

BX wildfire a ‘fire of note’

Blaze now 1.2 hectares

Smoky skies cause Okanagan-wide air quality issues

Central Okanagan pushed to high risk

Vernon poet shines bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Gallery Vertigo July 21

UPDATED: Suspects identified in meat thefts

Honour system fridge dishonoured, RCMP catch up with suspects

Breaking: More evacuation orders for Mount Eneas wildfire, south of Peachland

The BC Wildfire Service is battling a large wildfire alongside Highway 97 in Peachland.

Woman charged after eight dogs seized from hotel room

Sixteen dogs recently seized from Adams and her daughter in Quesnel

Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics seeks support to complete new facility

The final project requires more costly changes to the septic system.

Campers find refuge at Penticton community centre

Campers evacuated from Okanagan Lake Provincial Park

Interior Health wants you to protect your lungs with the smoky skies

Kelowna - With wildfires comes with the risk of smoke pollution across the Interior.

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

For-profit ridesharing legislation long overdue: BC Conservatives

Interim party leader Scott Anderson said the provincial government should step out of the way

Owner of fruit stand recounts ‘flames popping up everywhere’ from wildfire near Peachland

The Mount Eneas wildfire is burning at about 200 hectares south of Peachland

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Most Read