These buns were featured in the sanctuary’s annual calendar - Theresa Easter Photography

‘I really just wanted one’: B.C. sanctuary for 300 bunnies to open next year

The sanctuary’s caretakers in Lake Country, B.C. are grateful for the help this year

What originally started with Cadbury the bunny, has grown into a haven for small critters.

The Warren Peace Bunny Sanctuary, located on Pelmewash Parkway, grew spontaneously after the feral rabbit cull in Kelowna in 2005, Antoinette Monod told Kelowna Cap News. It’s set to open in May next year.

“I really just wanted a bunny, and my husband brought back a bunny that someone let loose around his shop and I fell in love with that bunny,” she said. Eventually, the bunny died, but Monod wanted another one.

This was around the time Kelowna was culling rabbits, she said.

“When you let them go and they’re not spayed or neutered, at the age of four to five months they’re having babies. They have babies every month,” she said. “It’s a huge multiplication nightmare.”

People started bringing her the rabbits, which continued to have babies.

“All of the sudden people were just contacting me… but I really just wanted one. Now we have over 300,” Monod said.

What keeps her going after 13 years is that people continue to release rabbits into the wild without spaying or neutering them, she said.

“Most of what we take in is feral colonies,” she said.

People will often bring her a few rabbits, but then they’ll quickly multiple.

“We just did one in Oyama where somebody dropped a few bunnies off at these people’s acreage and all of a sudden they had two, three, litters,” she said. “People just don’t know where to take them.”

The sanctuary accepts any and all rabbits.

“If we don’t, that’s a bunny we’ll have to trap later on, which is much more difficult than just opening our doors,” Monod said.

“I think that’s why I keep doing it, because there’s a need… I would love to be able to retire.”

The sanctuary has roughly 700 animals on the property including guinea pigs, goats, pigs, rats, ferrets, chinchillas, turkeys – all left without a place to call home.

“They deserve to live the rest of their life with some happiness and love and care,” said sanctuary vice president Amanda Cope.

“My dream, like any rescue or sanctuary, is that we wouldn’t be needed anymore. That is the ultimate goal,” Monod said.

The second goal is to find someone to take it over.

“As someone who is getting older, I have to think ‘can I do this in five years?’” Monod said.

She said in five years if she doesn’t think she can provide the animals with the same amount of care and support, then that’s when she’ll begin to cut back on the intake of animals.

But she hasn’t reached that point yet.

“We do our best to try and educate so people can learn and not releasing animals out in the wild, rather than us taking in 10 bunnies, we take in one bunny,” Cope said, adding it makes a huge difference.

Over the past year, the sanctuary fell on hard times when it closed due to a deadly bunny virus that spread in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

READ MORE: Lake Country bunny sanctuary closed due to deadly virus threat

Vaccinations against the virus cost $10,000, Monod said. Food costs roughly $1,500 and medical costs $3,000 every month.

But the community has shown overwhelming support.

A dozen volunteers also give Monod a hand, helping with cleaning, and grant writing, Cope said.

A GoFundMe started in last April for the sanctuary reached its goal of $10,000. Recently, it also won $1,000 as part of the Oxbow Animal Health’s Great Hay Giveback online contest which will go towards hay costs for the animals during the winter, Monod said.

READ MORE: Lake Country bunny sanctuary needs your help to get hay

The sanctuary came in first place with more than 8,000 votes.

“That really knocked us out of the park,” Cope said.

Monod said as her husband, Rick Lake, was running errands for the sanctuary, Lake Country residents cheered them on.

“The idea that entire companies were voting for us, that just goes to show what a wonderful community Lake Country is,” Monod said.

Monod was out in the rain Friday, with a cold – and on her birthday – preparing for the Great Pumpkin Giveback, which was held Nov. 3.

“That’s what sanctuary means, it means you open your doors to those in need,” she said.

To support the sanctuary, you can purchase its annual Boys with Buns Calendar, which is available for purchase at various locations in Kelowna, Lake Country and Vernon including Tri Lake Animal Hospital, or contact Monod online for a calendar at warrenpeacebunnysanctuary.org.

One-hundred per cent of the proceeds will go towards operating costs for the sanctuary.

 

Just Posted

Minor injuries in car, semi accident near Greenwood

Road conditions were likely a factor in the Friday morning crash.

Kootenays unemployment rate best in B.C.

In one year, the region has gone from highest unemployment rate to lowest, at 3.1 per cent

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Most Read