Many residents of Richmond, as well as visitors, may recognize the following scene as a familiar one.
Picture Minoru Park: a lush, beautiful, idyllic, oasis of nature in the middle of an urban community. Waterfalls cascade into serene ponds, geese and ducks swim and rest alongside the peaceful waters, while squirrels scamper and play in the grass and amongst the trees. And who could resist smiling while watching all the rabbits run about, occasionally enjoying carrots offered by visitors to the park. Are you feeling all warm and cozy yet?
Well, now add this to your mental image of Minoru Park: Sick and injured rabbits lying in pain and agony under the bushes, rabbits attacked by crows and other rabbits or even humans. Rabbits struggling to survive in a harsh and unfamiliar environment. Rabbits who have no idea why they have been removed from warm houses with food to eat and comfortable beds to be dumped in a foreign land. Doesn't sound quite so idyllic now does it?
If you think I am exaggerating, let me tell you a story about one such rabbit. There is a rabbit right now as you read this, that is hurt and suffering and barely surviving in Minoru Park. This rabbit, through no fault of his own, was discarded like trash in the park. He has the use of only one eye. His other eye is lost in a mess of swelling and torn skin, oozing pus and a gaping wound caused by another animal or possibly a human.
This rabbit isn't part of one of the groups of rabbits and he has been trying to make a friend in order to survive. But other rabbits chase him away and he struggles to get by. Can you imagine the pain he is in right now with his injury?
Can you imagine how he will ever survive with only one eye and so many enemies? How's your idyllic mental image of Minoru Park looking now? Some wonderful people from the Small Animal Rescue Society have been trying to help this rabbit, trying to catch him so he can receive medical attention and then hopefully find a loving family to care for him. So far they have had no luck and time is running out.
If you still can't envision the horror this rabbit is living with, try this: Imagine you are dumped in the Arctic with no warm clothes, no shelter, no food or drink, no survival skills, no friends and now you are injured, in pain, have the use of only one eye and all around you are potential predators. Just how well would you survive?
So the next time you take a stroll through Minoru Park and are enjoying nature and smiling at the antics of the animals, think about what is really going on there that you don't see at first glance.
Take a good long look at every bush you pass because that may be the one where the rabbit I told you about is hiding -- hurt, helpless and afraid.
Shame on the former owners of this pet rabbit who coldly dumped him there when they tired of him and shame on local government for not working harder to solve the problem of all the abandoned pet rabbits in Minoru Park and elsewhere in Richmond.