Rabbits to be killed at Richmond shelter after deadly virus detected

An animal shelter in Richmond has been advised to euthanize all 66 rabbits in its care

An animal shelter in Richmond has been advised to euthanize all 66 rabbits in its care after confirmation that several animals have tested positive for rabbit hemorrhagic disease.

The virus can cause death within hours and the Regional Animal Protection Society, which operates the Richmond Animal Shelter, says it was likely introduced by infected feral rabbits that were found dead on the property.

RELATED: Lower Mainland rabbits confirmed killed by highly-infectious virus

A news release from the society says the Ministry of Agriculture advised all the rabbits at the shelter should be euthanized after tests confirmed the presence of the illness.

The ministry also ordered the destruction and replacement of all rabbit-related facilities, enclosures, supplies, equipment and anything that came in contact with any of the bunnies.

The current outbreak marks only the third time rabbit hemorrhagic disease has been detected in Canada and the first time it has been reported in B.C., but the virus has already caused the deaths of hundreds of feral rabbits in Nanaimo, Comox and Delta.

The society says it is working with the City of Richmond, the Ministry of Agriculture and the SPCA to ensure that everything possible is done to prevent the continued spread of the disease, which causes hemorrhaging, and attacks the liver and other organs.

Eyal Lichtmann, executive director of the Regional Animal Protection Society, says the shelter has a no-kill policy and staff and volunteers are devastated by the order to euthanize the rabbits, but he says it’s the humane thing to do.

RELATED: Virus killing rabbits on mid Island

“Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is a horrific illness and to see an animal suffer and die from it is an excruciating experience which our staff had to endure in recent days. Sadly, by the time symptoms are evident, RHD is usually too late to treat,” Lichtmann says in the release.

A vaccine against the disease is being made available to veterinarians and clinics around B.C. and Lichtmann says the shelter had already placed its order before the outbreak occurred.

When the shipment arrives, the society says it will donate its portion to other animal organizations in B.C.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Blooms abound at BC/Yukon Peony Show

The show was held last weekend in Castlegar, home to the 2019 National Peony Show.

RCMP identify Beasley body, foul play suspected

The remains of Lemar Halimi were discovered in May

SLIDESHOW: Castlegar grad celebrations

Stanley Humphries Secondary School said congratulations to the Class of 2018.

Unregulated private land logging continues near Nelson at Cottonwood Lake

Sunshine Logging of Kaslo is cutting on private land in the area of Giveout Creek Road

LETTERS: Castlegar Complex expansion

One in favour, one against expansion plans.

SLIDESHOW: Castlegar grad celebrations

Stanley Humphries Secondary School said congratulations to the Class of 2018.

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

Most Read