Written by Jeff Mackey
In an important step toward justice for the many rabbits who
suffered at Bunny Magic Wildlife & Rabbit Rescue, Inc.—as revealed by
PETA—Carole Van Wie, the operator of that nightmarish hoarding facility, was convicted in court of neglecting rabbits. More importantly, she
has promised not to take in any more animals and will be on supervised probation
to ensure her compliance.
Van Wie will be turning in her state and federal animal
rehabilitator licenses and has vowed to get out of animal rescue work—not that
she was actually rescuing any animals, of course. Van Wie must undergo a psychiatric
evaluation—which is critical for ensuring that no more animals suffer and die
at her hands—and pay back some of the costs of caring for the animals who were seized from Bunny Magic. PETA thanks Calvert County Animal Control, the Tri-County
Animal Shelter, and the Calvert County State's Attorney's Office for all their
hard work on this case.
What You Can Do
Some "rescuers" are anything but—before handing
over any animal, take
extra care to ensure that you're not sentencing him or her to a miserable incarceration at
the hands of a hoarder. Also, please don't bring any animals into your
household if you can't make a lifetime commitment to them. But if you are ready, please consider adopting one (or two) of the adorable rabbits rescued from Bunny Magic!
On August 20, Carole Van Wie, the operator of Bunny Magic Wildlife
& Rabbit Rescue, Inc., was charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals. The
charges follow an August 8 raid on the facility—prompted by a PETA complaint—in
which law-enforcement officers seized 222 rabbits. Officials reportedly had to
don masks to rescue the flea-infested and sick rabbits from up to 4 inches of
feces and urine. Investigators apparently found one rabbit dead in a cage and
others denied food or water. According to news sources, seven of the rabbits
rescued that day could not be saved.
Originally posted August 8:
Welcome news! Today,
many, many rabbits are being removed
by Calvert County, Maryland, officials from what could be called a sham "sanctuary,"
Bunny Magic Wildlife & Rabbit Rescue, Inc., in Lusby. The seizure was
prompted by evidence gathered by PETA of systemic—and sometimes fatal—neglect
of animals at the "rescue," following a whistleblower's tip-off.
neglected rabbits’ nails were overgrown. Some caught on wire cage bottoms while
others curled dangerously toward the animals’ sensitive feet.
evidence and a detailed complaint to Calvert County Animal Control and State's
Attorney Laura Martin's Office, which has opened a criminal investigation into Bunny
Magic, run by President Carole Van Wie. We thank law enforcement for acting
promptly and PETA Investigations
& Rescue Fund donors for providing us with the resources needed to follow up
on the whistleblower's tip.
PETA found that
Bunny Magic consisted of little more than Van Wie's garage, which reeked of ammonia,
and a dark shed that was overrun with rodents. It had no paid help to care for its more than 200 rabbits and other animals. Van
Wie deprived rabbits of needed veterinary care and left contagious animals in contact
with others, risking the spread of disease. Photographs show that Bunny Magic was
little more than a hoarding
facility, amassing far more animals than it could properly care for.
Dead rabbits crammed
into a freezer
Scores of rabbits kept in cramped, stacked cages
are fastidiously clean animals) were unable to avoid stepping in their own feces, which was allowed
to accumulate for days
One neglected rabbit,
Rockette, suffered with a severely twisted neck, struggling to stand up on her
own; she was denied nursing and veterinary care and left to languish and
defecate on herself until she finally died. Another rabbit, named George, who
had a months-long respiratory infection that filled his throat with pus, was
rescued from Bunny Magic before PETA met with officials but could not be saved.
A veterinarian recommended that George be put out of his misery.
The rabbits are being rescued only because a courageous
whistleblower reported how horrified he or she was by Bunny Magic, reminding us
that we should never be
silent when animals are in trouble.
Please be sure, before adopting any animals, that you're ready to make a lifetime commitment to caring for them. Beware of hoarders
pretending to operate so-called "no-kill" rescues or sanctuaries who
promise to care for unwanted animals but instead will only subject them to
prolonged suffering and a prolonged, miserable death. If you take an animal to
a shelter, make sure it's
Victories like this one are made possible in part through
the generosity of PETA Investigations & Rescue Fund supporters. To learn more about this vital fund and how
you can support the rescue of more animals, click here!
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.