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Uproar over Bunny Park — bunnies suffer under questionable conditions

Horrific pictures of bunnies, apparently from the Bunny Park, in Rynfield, were recently posted online.

According to Martine Hampsen, from Ban Animal Trading South Africa, she and a volunteer visited the Bunny Park on July 3 to assess the condition of the animals, after which she posted an article and pictures of the bunnies online.

Among the sights they encountered was a pit with a multitude of dead animals in it.

“We tried to catch those (bunnies) with deformities, to take them to the vet,” said Hampsen.

“I didn’t see one healthy bunny in the park, each has some disease or deformity.

“There’s not a blade of grass, the water is hardly drinkable and there is a low standard of food, which is just thrown on the ground at random.

“The bunnies aren’t neutered, so the males are aggressive and the bunnies keep on breeding out of control.”

Gideon Strydom, the caretaker at the Bunny Park, said they often bring in the SPCA or a vet to look at the bunnies.

“There are so many bunnies and it is a huge park, to catch the sick ones would take more manpower, which we do not have,” he said.

“We feed the animals as much as we can, but at the moment many vegetables and fruit are out of season and we rely solely on donations from supermarkets.”

Phil Maisela, trainee inspector at Benoni SPCA, told the City Times the situation at the park is out of control.

“We go there once a week to assess the bunnies; the conditions aren’t good, many are sick,” he said.

“There is not sufficient fencing, so the bunnies get out and are killed by cars.

“I would suggest the breeding be controlled more and the feeding improved, as the animals just eat scraps from grocery stores.”

Diane Wooldridge, vice-chairwoman of the Benoni SPCA, said the bunny park is underfunded and the SPCA is concerned for the animals’ welfare.

Strydom said the park has to rely on the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) and donations for its funding, as there is no entrance fee to the Bunny Park.

“The bunnies do get out often, but we have put in a tender to have extra fencing put right around the park, to prevent them wandering into the streets,” he explained.

“People sometimes just come and dump their animals here, without even telling us; we can’t care for all these animals if the numbers increase, but the budget stays the same.”

Members of the public also voiced their concerns about the park.

“I’ve been at the Bunny Park several times recently and the things I’ve seen are horrific,” said Leighton Edward James Pearson, a CBD resident.

“There are dead bunnies lying around, there’s no grass and the water looks terrible, it looks more like a desert.

“We need to form a community group that cleans up the Bunny Park from time to time.”

EMM was approached for comment, but none had been received at the time of going to press.

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