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Capitol Police investigating dead rabbits found with broken ribs, possibly poisoned

Nevada Capitol Police are actively investigating the suspicious deaths of dozens of rabbits at a state mental health facility after the animals – believed to have been poisoned – were also discovered with broken ribs.

A veterinarian familiar with the investigation told News 3 that the rabbit’s injuries were not likely sustained naturally and that the animals experienced “blunt force trauma.” An independent lab is currently testing the animal remains for possible poison. A final report is expected within a few weeks.

Vegas Bunny Rescue founder Tina Dawn surveyed the campus of the state mental health facility known as the “dump site” near Charleston Blvd. and Jones. It’s a popular area where people often abandon their pet rabbits -- and the animals quickly multiply.

Last month, health inspectors counted 750 rabbits roaming the campus of the mental health facility. However, since the suspicious deaths were reported more than a week ago, several rescue groups have worked overtime to relocate hundreds of rabbits.

Rescue groups estimate there are now less than 100 animals left at the site.

RELATED | Dozens of rabbits found dead, animal advocates suspect poison

“We have a bunch of volunteers that have come out to try to rescue these bunnies after business hours on the site – so that we’re not disturbing any of the mental health facility patients,” said Dawn.

According to a 2013 facility condition analysis, the state earmarked $2,500 in its budget for a pest control project to remove rabbits through a licensed pest control business.

However, Nevada Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Karla Delgado said the state currently does not have any active pest control projects in place to remove the bunnies.

“DHHS’ next steps are to meet with our community partners as the plan was and continues to be to remove and relocate the bunnies safely and humanely,” said Delgado.

As for Dawn, she’s hoping for answers but she’s also hoping for solutions to the animal dumping problem.

RELATED | Officials warn that rabbit infestation at Vegas mental health clinic is a health hazard

“The silver lining of this, now people across the world know about this issue,” said Dawn. “It really let people know what was happening... and when people see something like that they want to work and join forces to do something about it>”

Capitol Police is actively investigating the case and ask that anyone with information, to contact capitolpolice-lasvegas@dps.state.nv.us or call 702-486-2935.

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