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State officials call for investigation after dozens of dead rabbits discovered

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State officials are calling for an investigation after dozens of dead rabbits were recovered at the Nevada State West Charleston Campus.

“We have asked for an investigation into this situation,” said Karla Delgado, Social Services Chief of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

Animal advocates suspect the feral rabbits were poisoned just days after the state issued a health advisory about the animals February 16.

Dozens of dead rabbits were recovered from what’s known as “the dump site” – which new records reveal was once home almost 750 rabbits until recently.

“It’s very, very suspicious,” said Dave Schweiger who volunteers to feed the animals.

Advocates suspect someone started killing the animals, poisoning their food with antifreeze.

“We are here every day. We see these bunnies. We’ve never come out here and seen 20 dead bodies, 30 dead bodies all over the place,” said Schweiger.

The booming bunny population has been an ongoing issue at the “dump site.”

The most recent inspection by the Southern Nevada Health District prompted the state to issue a public health warning. According to the inspection, 730 rabbits were spotted, along with several rabbit carcasses and feces – posing a “risk for disease.”

“There hasn’t been any cases of them,” said Schweiger. “it’s a fear tactic by the state.”

Animal rescue groups are now racing to capture the remaining 120 rabbits from the site while the dead rabbit remains are undergoing testing at an independent lab.

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the following statement:

DHHS’ priority is the protection of the public’s health, including the vulnerable populations we serve as well as our employees. The West Charleston Campus is a residential and outpatient campus which serves individuals with intellectual disabilities, adults, children and families receiving mental health services and administrative offices.
The Southern Nevada Health District and City of Las Vegas Animal Control toured the campus grounds and advised us of the potential risks the bunnies could pose to those who work, visit and live on the campus. We wanted to post the notice as the first step to the public.
Our next steps are to work with City of Las Vegas Animal Control, the Southern Nevada Health District and reach out to the Bunny Rescue Groups as the plan was and continues to be to remove and relocate the bunnies safely and humanely.
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