Preliminary examinations of three rabbits found dead in mid-February outside a state mental health facility in Las Vegas show the animals suffered cracked ribs due to blunt-force trauma, a veterinarian conducting the examination said Tuesday.
Necropsies performed by Las Vegas veterinarian Nicole Smee found evidence that the rabbits sustained physical injuries, though it was not clear if the trauma caused their deaths. Tests to determine if they also were poisoned are pending.
But tests for infection, including tularemia, which was cited as a potential risk to humans in a state health warning, came back negative, Smee said.
Stacey Taylor, founder of Bunnies Matter in Vegas Too, a rabbit rescue group, called the findings disturbing.
“There’s still not all the questions answered, but in our eyes, it’s kind of worse than we initially thought,” she said.
Bunnies Matter has been working with other local rescue organizations to retrieve remaining domesticated rabbits from the grounds of the State of Nevada West Charleston Campus at 6171 W. Charleston Blvd. since about 50 were found dead in an apparent poisoning.
Volunteers with local organizations have more than 150 rabbits in their care and have shipped about 115 to shelters across the country. About 20 to 30 of the rabbits in Las Vegas are up for adoption. The rest will need medical care before they can be placed with owners.
Taylor said community support has kept the organization well-equipped. While she and her fellow advocates are always looking for more top-opening carriers and water bottles, their greatest need is warehouse space for the rabbits to live while they search for new homes.
More information on donating or adopting can be found on the Bunnies Matter in Vegas Too Facebook page or by contacting the organization via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.