Family cited for animal cruelty as rabbit population booms
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
A Nashville man says he had good intentions but suddenly got in way over his head and wound up with more than 100 rabbits at his home.
After complaints from neighbors, officers came by and found many of the animals may be infected with disease.
The neighbors said the white rabbits were everywhere - coming out of sewage drains, hiding under cars and sitting on porches.
Anh Nguyen said he and his family really love animals, and in their backyard on Huntington Parkway in south Nashville, they raise hens, pigeons, fish and rabbits.
"It's not easy getting rid of 100 rabbits," Nguyen said.
The Nguyens say the infestation started with just four rabbits, and things quickly got out of control. They say their intentions were good, and they had planned to get help.
"It just happens. We can't really control what they do," Nguyen said. "We just wanted to raise the rabbits and give them life. It's just like buying a bunch of birds and letting them go and give them life."
But Metro Animal Control says it's still not clear what they were doing with all the rabbits.
"A lot of people, when you see that many rabbits in one spot, it's probably a meat organization, because a lot of people do eat rabbit," said Billy Biggs with Metro Animal Control.
The Nguyens admit they had a breeding operation but say they never sold or ate the animals.
Animal control cited Nguyen for animal cruelty, saying the rabbits were living in feces.
What's more, a rabbit rescue group found some of the animals had gangrene infections and parasites.
The family said they were unaware of disease issues and gave half of the animals away but seemed unsure when asked what happened to the other half.
"Umm, in the woods and stuff," Nguyen said.
Metro Animal Control officers will visit the home again next week. If the family continues to comply with orders, the animal cruelty citation will be dropped.
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