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AWLA: Someone is shooting rabbits with blow darts

A rabbit (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Someone in Arlington is apparently shooting rabbits with a blow dart.

Two rabbits, each with darts stuck in their bodies, were spotted by residents along the 700 and 800 blocks of N. Barton Street in Lyon Park earlier this month, according to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Animal control officers have been trying to capture the rabbits to provide medical treatment.

The apparent dart shootings follow an incident in which a crow was shot with a blow dart in the Fairlington neighborhood last April.

AWLA issued the following press release this afternoon, seeking the public’s help. The release includes photos of rabbits that were shot.

At the beginning of April AWLA’s Animal Control Department began receiving calls regarding two rabbits found on the 700 and 800 blk’s of N Barton street with what appears to be blow darts stuck in their bodies. One of the rabbits has the dart stuck through the head area, the other in the side. Animal Control Officers responded to these calls immediately and have worked over the past week, setting humane traps in different properties in an attempt to catch one of these rabbits. Our intention is to bring the rabbit(s) back to AWLA for triage and transportation to an emergency Wildlife Center for medical care. We are also working with the Department of Wildlife Resources to coordinate our efforts.

This is the second time in the past 12 months in which AWLA has discovered the use of projectiles or blow darts on wildlife. We ask that anyone with knowledge of these incidents or sightings of these rabbits please contact Animal Control immediately at 703-931-9241. Please do not attempt to chase the rabbits.

“This behavior will not be tolerated here in Arlington. This is an act of animal cruelty. We put so much time and emphasis on teaching tolerance and harmonious coexistence with local wildlife in an effort to prevent acts such as this. When groups, associations, or organizations teach intolerance for living things or scapegoat animals for human created conflicts, our wildlife pays the price.” ~ Jennifer Toussaint, Chief of Animal Control

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