VANCOUVER, Wash. – Dozens of feral rabbits are roaming the streets in the Ogden neighborhood of central Vancouver.
People living there say their furry neighbors started showing up a few years ago. Now, some say there may be more than 100 rabbits in the area. KATU News counted 23 while walking around for 45 minutes.
Many of the rabbits are white with dark spots. A few are brown or black. Most of them appear to be well-fed, thanks in part to Rosie Marsh.
“I feed them in the morning and then I feed them again at night,” she said.
Marsh came home Wednesday with a bag of rabbit food in the car to refill the container she leaves out. She says she goes through about one bag per week. Marsh also leaves fresh carrots in her yard every day.
Marsh’s great-granddaughter named a few of the rabbits. They have names like Chocolate Chip and Cali.
KATU spoke with several neighbors said they enjoyed having the rabbits around. They said it was something unique to their neighborhood.
“Me and my roommate’s daughter have driven through here and seen upwards of 14 to 19 in a day,” said Cynthia Cunningham, a teacher at a nearby school. “On a stressful day I like to come out and count the bunnies.”
Others see the bunnies as pests. One man complained about the rabbits munching his grass. Several lawns in the neighborhood appeared to be chewed thin. Some homeowners put fences around their gardens and yards to keep the rabbits out.
No one knows exactly where the rabbits came from, but the prevailing theory among neighbors is that someone released a few rabbits from their home a few years ago, which proved to be the seed for the current rabbit population.
Lisa Feder, Vice President and Director at the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, says this has happened before, notably in Cannon Beach. That phrase, “breed like rabbits,” is very true. Feder says a rabbit can breed every 30 days.
“If they're getting food somewhere and they have shelter, they just continue to bread and can relatively quickly overrun a neighborhood,” Feder said.
She estimates about 40 percent of the stray rabbits they’ve taken in this year have come from the Ogden area. They took in 107 rabbits since January.
Feder says residents in the Ogden neighborhood have brought the rabbits to the shelter, so has Clark County Animal Control.
When asked why she continues to feed the rabbits running rampant in her neighborhood, Marsh said, “If I see a kid running around that didn't have a parent or someone to take care of it, I'd take care of it too. I'm a great-grandmother, that’s what we do.”