A Nanaimo woman is shocked after being ticketed for keeping pet rabbits on her large south Nanaimo property. Liane Morrissette calls the bylaw “ridiculous” and is now considering moving to keep her pets.
Inside her backyard shed in south Nanaimo is Liane Morrissette’s pride and joy.
“Oh that’s a good girl,” said Morrissette, opening a cage.
Six pampered pet rabbits live here in the shed. They are part of a menagerie she’s assembled on her large Nanaimo lot that includes bees, a coop of chickens, pigeons and a duck she’s named Donald Trump,
“He has a bit of an attitude. He likes to put his crest up and walk around like he owns the place,” said Morrissette laughing.
She says she’s been living here happily, trying to be self-sustainable for six years, until she was just visited by Nanaimo Animal Control on Jan. 30 and ticketed for keeping her bunnies.
“This is my warning notice,” she said, holding the ticket.
“I had had no idea it was a bylaw infraction at all to keep rabbits. I didn’t really believe him at first.”
Turns out she’s in violation of a bunny bylaw in the city of Nanaimo that says rabbits can’t be kept on a property that’s less than an acre in size.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Morrissette. “It’s the silliest bylaw I’ve ever heard of.”
Yet it has Morrissette now considering moving out of the city in order to keep her rabbits. even though she’s found out Nanaimo bylaws remarkably would allow her to keep a raptor.
“Technically I’m not allowed bunnies but I can keep a hawk or a falcon,” said Morrissette.
The City of Nanaimo is defending the bylaw saying it has an infestation of feral rabbits. Over a thousand have been counted in city limits and officials say many of those came from homes and yards that no longer wanted them.
“At this time there is a feral rabbit issue in this city and this is one of the ways of addressing it,” said Fire Chief Karen Fry who is also the City of Nanaimo’s Director of Public Safety.
Morrissette is hoping the city will change that bylaw. If not she’ll be putting her house up for sale and moving on, unwilling to find new homes for her pet rabbits as her ticket demands.