For the second year in a row, a Lake Country rabbit sanctuary will not be open for Easter due to the threat of a deadly bunny virus.
The Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary, located on Pelmewash Parkway, was closed for last year’s season to protect the non-profit’s roughly 300 rabbits and this year is following the same trend.
Four rabbits were found dead on Vancouver Island and the province is warning rabbit owners to be cautious after a rabbit hemorrhagic disease, which is an extremely infectious and lethal disease exclusive to rabbits.
“A lot of the people that come at Easter come from the coast, and they could be carrying it,” said owner Antoinette Monod.
The non-profit usually has a bunny station at Vernon’s Village Green Shopping Centre for Easter, but this year they’re taking extra cautions.
The bunnies have to be vaccinated each year against the disease and with the help of the community, enough funds were raised from last year to be able to buy the vaccinations for 2019, Monod said.
But as the vaccinations are coming from France, the rabbits won’t be vaccinated in time for Easter weekend.
“What we’re going to try and do, when we get to be open, we’re thinking of doing an Easter in May and then we’ll do some things of what we would have done for this Easter, except for the mall of course,” she said.
She isn’t sure when an opening date for the sanctuary, but is asking patrons to stay updated with the sanctuary’s Facebook page, where all the opening events will be posted.
“It should be (open) a lot faster than last year,” she said. “We’re just going to have to play it by ear.”
A donation box will be out at the end of the sanctuary’s driveway and the sanitary is always accepting animal food donations.
For 2019, the number of rabbits brought to the non-profit has been lower than in recent years, when a batch of 20 rabbits from Keremeos had babies.
“This year we’ve had a lot of babies, but not as bad as when (they were from Keremeos). We have people calling us up and saying ‘there’s a bunny, or two bunnies hopping through our yard.’”
For more information visit the Warren Peace Facebook page.