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

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Bacchus Books hosts Gerritt Shumyk March 25

A cozy venue, nestled in the heart of downtown Golden, hosts musicians… Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Dusty days ahead

The weather is getting warmer, Golden’s resident grizzly bear Boo has come… Continue reading

Conseil Scolaire Francophone welcomes more than 30 students to new school in Golden in September

The Conseil Scolaire Francophone (CSF) has officially announced the opening of a… Continue reading

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Wildlife activists slam B.C. business, clubs for ‘wolf-whacking’ contests

Chilcotin Guns, Creston Valley Rod and Gun Club and West Kootenay Outdoorsmen Club under fire

Most Read