Rabbit's death delayed as pleas pour in to save him

Rabbit's death delayed as pleas pour in to save him
TACOMA, Wash. - As calls and e-mails continue to pour in from around the globe, pleading for the life of a local rabbit that is scheduled to die, his death sentence has been put off for a day.

The rabbit, named Copper, originally was scheduled to be euthanized on Sunday.

But Copper was granted one more day of life - because there was no veterinarian at the shelter on a Sunday who could perform the procedure - and because Sunday technically was "Day 10" of his 10-day quarantine.

The delay gave Copper sympathizers more time to plead their cause with the Pierce County Humane Society, which has the rabbit in its custody.

The calls have been coming from London. The e-mails from Sweden and Northern Ireland. The pleas, from across the globe.

The rabbit was accused of biting a Humane Society shelter volunteer so hard it sent her to the emergency room. So shelter leaders believed the bunny needed to be euthanized.

That infuriated many in the animal rights community - so much, that some of them showed up to stage a small protest against "Copper the bunny's" death sentence on Sunday.

About half-a-dozen people stood outside the Pierce County Humane Society waving signs in protest.

They believe Copper should be rehabilitated, but not killed. They even laid flowers on the sidewalk, as a sort-of memorial to the rabbit.

But Humane Society officials say they are just following their normal procedure for handling an animal that is not suitable for adoption.

"He's very agitated, is what it is," says Darcy Webb of the Pierce County Humane Society. "He was very agitated at the time of the attack, and he seems to continue to be so. He seems like a really unhappy bunny. It's really incredibly unfortunate."

Humane Society Director Kathleen Olson says veterinarians also have determined that Copper has serious medical problems.

But plenty of people say they are willing to take in Copper - with all his imperfections - and let him live out his natural life.

"We are concerned about the welfare of all the animals, and we are concerned that we offered our help for this shelter," says Erika Parsons of the Rabbit Meadows Rescue Group in Redmond. "We would at least have liked to have had the opportunity to give him a chance."

Meanwhile, Copper's plight continues to draw worldwide attention.

Opponents of the Humane Society's decision to euthanize the rabbit claim they have support from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Ireland and even New Zealand.