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250 Rabbits Seized in Cruelty Case

Regulation: Raid of the Mar Vista home finds many of the animals hurt and some dead.

April 19, 2002|KENNETH REICH

A large strike force of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, carrying a search warrant, raided a rented home Thursday in Mar Vista and removed more than 250 rabbits, many of them injured and some dead.

Madeline Bernstein, president of the SPCA's Los Angeles chapter, said it appeared that the woman who lived there had begun "a collection of rabbits and then allowed the animals to multiply without control."

Neighbors had complained of a stench.

At least eight SPCA trucks and more than 20 people were involved in the raid in the neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles.

Rabbits still alive were trucked either to a veterinarian's office or a shelter. Bernstein said some would be offered for adoption.

When SPCA workers arrived at the house in the 3000 block of Stoner Avenue and showed the resident the search warrant, she left the property, Bernstein said. She was not arrested.

"A huge number of rabbits [were] found in the backyard and along the sides of the house," Bernstein said.

The name of the resident was not released, but neighbors said she had rented the home for a year and a half.

Lazarus Benjamin, a next-door neighbor, said he had noticed bad smells for some time.

But the number of rabbits discovered "was a shock," he added.

Bernstein said Los Angeles ordinances regulating the sheltering of rabbits are less clear than for dogs and cats but that rabbits must be kept in healthful, clean surroundings.

"This person may have meant well," Bernstein said, "but things got beyond her."

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