Nanaimo SPCA and the school district hope education will be the remedy after students were caught taking baby bunnies from their natural habitat.
The SPCA confirmed that students at Fairview Elementary School had been removing small bunnies from the wild and selling them.
Leon Davis, Nanaimo and District SPCA branch manager, said no charges will be recommended. The SPCA will send its new humane education coordinator, Blaire Sigson, to talk to Fairview students on Friday (June 17).
“We really believe, at the SPCA, that we want to teach kids more about empathy and kindness towards animals so they can develop this and also we want to teach them critical thinking skills,” said Sigson.
The hope is the students will take the knowledge and use it to make decisions that are empathetic toward animals, Sigson said.
Dale Burgos, school district spokesman, said no discipline will be taken, but letters to parents of Fairview Elementary and Nanaimo District Secondary School students were sent home, asking them to educate their children on not picking up wildlife.
“We just had to take the education stance on this one because, quite frankly, we don’t deal with animals and that’s where the SPCA will come in,” said Burgos.
Tina Heary, from the provincial SPCA, said one bunny was found deceased and discarded in a crate. She said she isn’t aware at this point of any abuse that took place.
The investigation is still open, according to Heary.
“The file is still open at this stage, just because there still are a few loose ends to tie up and wanting to go into the school and making sure that the kids are in attendance for that program, and then likely the investigation will conclude from there, unless more information comes forward,” said Heary.