Court OKs Canmore rabbit cull

The planned cull of feral rabbits in Canmore can proceed, a Calgary court has ruled.

Feral rabbits in Canmore are living on borrowed time.

In a decision announced Monday, the Court of Queen's Bench denied an application brought by Dan Onischuk, an Edmonton photographer who calls himself a rabbit advocate, that sought to delay the plan while alternatives could be studied.

Feral rabbits are drawing predators such as coyotes and cougars into the town, Canmore officials and residents say. (CBC)

"We need to look at a rabbit no-kill solution," Onischuk told CBC News before the decision was announced. "This would sterilize and relocate the rabbits to a safe place, as yet to be determined. This solution would respect everybody's wishes:  The people who don't like rabbits would be rid of them, and people who do like rabbits would be able to rest easy, knowing that they are still alive and well someplace and hopping about," he said.

Calgary Animal Services had offered to help out, saying it would neuter any rabbit brought to it at no charge to prevent it from being killed.

It was expected the culling would begin over the summer, but in July, town councillors said they had not ruled out the possibility of a sanctuary for the approximately 2,000 rabbits.

Officials say the animals are causing property damage, and there are concerns they could attract predators such as cougars and coyotes to the town of 12,000, about 100 kilometres west of Calgary.

They now have trappers on standby to capture and euthanize the feral bunnies.