The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to outlaw the bunny
trade to help curb a glut of unwanted rabbits at city shelters by
people who had second thoughts about caring for the cuddly
"Rabbits are sometimes disappointing especially when you buy them
for your child," said Margo DeMello, president of the House Rabbit
Society, in Richmond, California, which she described as the world's
largest rabbit shelter. "They're ground-dwelling and they do not
want to be held and carried around by a kid."
Elizabeth S. Crowley, the New York councilwoman who is lead
co-sponsor of the bill, said she expected Mayor Bill de Blasio to
sign the legislation into law because of the strong support the
measure received on the council.
De Blasio, who took office in January, is known as an ardent
supporter of animal rights. The mayor made a campaign promise to
outlaw Central Park's famous horse-drawn carriages, popular among
tourists but condemned by activists. A bill to that effect was
introduced this month in City Council.
The mayor's office did not respond to a request for comment about
the rabbit bill.
Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles also have laws banning the
sale of rabbits by pet stores.
"There are problems with people who purchase bunnies and don't know
how to care for them," said Crowley, from Queens. "The bunny
population has been growing out of control."
The bunny ban is part of a larger legislative package also
regulating the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.
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Animal Care & Control of NYC, a shelter contracted by the city, said
it took in 376 rabbits between January and October. That compares
with 283 rabbits in 2011 and 382 in 2013 The list of animals
specially banned for sale by New York pet stores that includes
skunks, cougars, wolves, pandas, bats and gorillas, among dozens of
But city officials are currently weighing lifting the ban on
ferrets, which the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
pronounced prone to "vicious, unprovoked attacks" when it outlawed
the creatures in 1999.
(Editing By Frank McGurty and David Gregorio)
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