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

Habitat for Humanity starting 8 new homes in Cowichan in 2019

Cowichan’s Marcel Aubin new new executive director for mid-Island’s Habitat for Humanity

Library eliminates children’s fines as Family Literacy Week approaches

If you’ve been avoiding the public library because your kids have racked… Continue reading

‘Whimsical, funny’ ballet ‘Coppélia!’ coming to Duncan stage

“If you enjoy the ‘Nutcracker’, then you’ll love ‘Coppélia!’”

Cowichan Bay’s Cittaslow designation could be in jeopardy

Less people involved with Cittaslow activities

Lexi Bainas column: Lots of great ways to chase those winter blues in this week’s even

From the skirl of the pipes to the infectious sounds of a marimba band, what’s not to like?

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

Coming up in Cowichan: Anti-pipeline meeting; women’s shelter open house

Public meeting in Duncan to support pipeline protests A public meeting has… Continue reading

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Most Read