Howard Co. animal control seizes 78 rabbits from Columbia home

A Columbia family with 78 rabbits running free in their townhouse lost them to Howard County Animal Control officers Tuesday, but county police said the animals are in good shape and some can be adopted immediately.

Police said an anonymous caller directed Animal Control officers to the home in the 5800 block of Barnwood Place near Howard County General Hospital. The caller said animals were living in poor conditions inside a house.

They found and removed 64 rabbits that were in good condition but were running free in the home occupied by a 46-year old woman and her 18-year old son, who voluntarily surrendered them. Agents returned to the house Thursday to see whether they missed any rabbits the first time under what they described as "debris." They found 14 more, police said. The county Health Department also will review conditions for humans in the home.

Police did not name the woman or her son because they are not changed with a crime. The rabbits were healthy, police said, but were living in an "unclean and unsafe environment." A veterinarian was to complete examinations of the rabbits Thursday at the county's animal shelter, 8576 Davis Road, near Howard High School.

The county is seeking help from animal rescue groups to house some of the rabbits. Adoption hours at the shelter are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. There is a $30 fee per rabbit. The shelter will be closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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