Calgary

Rabbit cull plan in Canmore sparks legal warning

A plan to rid Canmore of its ballooning rabbit population has the Humane Society of Canada warning the town that it might face a legal fight.

National animal protection group threatens to go to court

A plan to rid Canmore of its ballooning rabbit population has the Humane Society of Canada warning the town that it might face a legal fight.

Officials in the mountain community estimated earlier this year that there are 2,000 rabbits roaming the town, up from 1,000 four years ago.

It’s believed an original population of about a dozen rabbits was released into the wild by a resident in the mid-1980s.

The town set aside $50,000 last year to hire experts to cull the feral animals as concerns mounted that they were attracting more predators into Canmore, which is about 80 kilometres west of Calgary.

Michael O'Sullivan, chairman and CEO of the society, said the town should find an alternative to a cull, which he predicted would not solve the problem anyway.

"The legal challenge is a last resort. I hope it won’t come to that," he said.

But Canmore Mayor Ron Casey said the town needs to take action of some kind, whether that means killing the animals or not.

"I think most people just want us to do what we can," he said.

Casey said the town will decide within a few weeks which company is awarded the contract and exactly what method will be used to get rid of the rabbits.

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