PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - There’s an alarming case of animal abuse in South Florida as wild bunny rabbits are being targeted with darts in Parkland.
One of the benefits of living in the suburbs of Parkland, especially for animal lovers, is seeing marsh rabbits, which are native to the area. One woman said she loves seeing the rabbits, but someone is doing something very cruel to them.
“We always see the rabbits out at dusk or early in the mornings when it’s nice and cool. About a week ago, I saw this rabbit out like I normally would, and it had something in its mouth, which appeared yellow, and I thought it was a flower. I’m like, ‘Aw, how cute! It’s got a cute little flower in its mouth,'” said Misty Baniewicz.
The yellow thing was no flower, however. It was a metal dart.
“It’s going in one side of its face and out the other side of its face. Brutal. Brutal, brutal, brutal,” Baniewicz said.
Baniewicz said she sees marsh rabbits all the time in her Heron Bay neighborhood in Parkland. She shot a cell phone video of the rabbit outside her home and then caught it to give it care.
“I will not leave it there. I won’t let it suffer,” she said.
“When he came in, he was a little quiet, a little stunned,” said Cristel Fiddynet of the South Florida Wildlife Care Center. “I mean, remember, he ended up being chased and trapped, and thankfully the dart was easily removed.”
The South Florida Wildlife Care Center gave the male rabbit pain medication, fluids and antibiotics, and took X-rays. They said his prognosis is good.
“It’s very disheartening for people to do this,” Fiddynet said. “I don’t know if they’re bored or just doing it for sport, I do believe that people just truly sometimes need to be truly educated on what not to do and what is OK.”
“So once we got the rabbit over here, it ran through here,” Baniewicz said.
Baniewicz said someone in her neighborhood told her about another rabbit who died from an identical dart that was shot in its leg, and she was angry.
“You’re not hunting something to eat it, you’re hurting it for sport and for cruelty and leaving it suffering like that, and that’s what breaks my heart,” she said.
Broward Sheriff’s Office wants to know who has been firing darts at rabbits in the community. If you have any information regarding who is behind the darting, call BSO.
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