Rabbits to be killed at Richmond shelter after deadly virus detected

An animal shelter in Richmond has been advised to euthanize all 66 rabbits in its care

An animal shelter in Richmond has been advised to euthanize all 66 rabbits in its care after confirmation that several animals have tested positive for rabbit hemorrhagic disease.

The virus can cause death within hours and the Regional Animal Protection Society, which operates the Richmond Animal Shelter, says it was likely introduced by infected feral rabbits that were found dead on the property.

RELATED: Lower Mainland rabbits confirmed killed by highly-infectious virus

A news release from the society says the Ministry of Agriculture advised all the rabbits at the shelter should be euthanized after tests confirmed the presence of the illness.

The ministry also ordered the destruction and replacement of all rabbit-related facilities, enclosures, supplies, equipment and anything that came in contact with any of the bunnies.

The current outbreak marks only the third time rabbit hemorrhagic disease has been detected in Canada and the first time it has been reported in B.C., but the virus has already caused the deaths of hundreds of feral rabbits in Nanaimo, Comox and Delta.

The society says it is working with the City of Richmond, the Ministry of Agriculture and the SPCA to ensure that everything possible is done to prevent the continued spread of the disease, which causes hemorrhaging, and attacks the liver and other organs.

Eyal Lichtmann, executive director of the Regional Animal Protection Society, says the shelter has a no-kill policy and staff and volunteers are devastated by the order to euthanize the rabbits, but he says it’s the humane thing to do.

RELATED: Virus killing rabbits on mid Island

“Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is a horrific illness and to see an animal suffer and die from it is an excruciating experience which our staff had to endure in recent days. Sadly, by the time symptoms are evident, RHD is usually too late to treat,” Lichtmann says in the release.

A vaccine against the disease is being made available to veterinarians and clinics around B.C. and Lichtmann says the shelter had already placed its order before the outbreak occurred.

When the shipment arrives, the society says it will donate its portion to other animal organizations in B.C.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Revelstoke Grizzlies celebrate the end of their regular season with awards

Their last game is on Saturday and the playoffs start next week

MP Stetski calls for more funding for rural internet

Stetski says there is a growing digital divide between rural and urban communities

Revelstoke Search and Rescue calls Feb. 11-17

Revelstoke Search and Rescue reports their activities to Emergency Management BC who… Continue reading

Penticton woman captures footage of bobcat feasting on bird in backyard

‘Kim Ken Oszinski’ posted photos and videos of the bobcat from just a few feet away

Roads, weather and ski conditions for Revelstoke area today

Pockets of wind slab, loose dry avalanches are the main concern, especially in steep exposed terrain

Branching out: learning to ski at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

It’s the first time at the hill for the editor of Revelstoke Review

5 Events to check out at local ski hills

Check out this new column from Okanagan events guru Christina Ferreira

Okanagan man cashes in $500,000 Daily Grand lotto ticket

Penticton resident Harald Naegel won using his regular five numbers

Alberta’s oil-by-rail plan a worry for Shuswap mayor

High volume of train traffic already an environmental/public safety concern

Interior Health sees uptick in calls about measles after outbreak in Vancouver

IH has received an extra few hundred calls about measle immunization and status

‘His kids were No. 1’: Wife remembers man shot dead in Kamloops

Wife of Kamloops shooting victim describes him as loving, hardworking family man

Okanagan biathlete bronzed at Winter Games

Ethan Algra helps Team BC earn medal in Red Deer

New report calls for regulated heroin sales to curb B.C.’s overdose problem

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

Most Read