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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Animal Rights Groups Attack Plan to Kill Wild Rabbits

May 03, 2000

SEAL BEACH — Animal rights groups Tuesday expressed outrage over plans to shoot hundreds of wild rabbits at Leisure World, saying it would be a tragedy that residents in the gated retirement village easily could have avoided.

The fate of the thriving population of burrowing cottontails, which have been enamored with the lush golf fairways and flower gardens enjoyed by many of the retirees, now is in the hands of police.

The agency said the date of the rabbit eradication won't be set or approved until Leisure World's exterminators submit a request for permission to "discharge a pellet gun" to eliminate the hares.

Leisure World's proposed rabbit hunt is emblematic of a much larger problem throughout Southern California, where wandering coyotes, raccoons, waterfowl and other wildlife have been greeted with both fear and wonderment, say environmentalists.

Officials at Leisure World bristled at suggestions the bunny boom is their fault.

The rabbits have ripped up residents' flower gardens and the community's nine-hole golf course, said Bill Narang, administrator for Seal Beach Leisure World. Replacing a rabbit-damaged golf green costs the community $40,000, he said.

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