Courtesy Elissa Turpin via

Stray rabbits roaming around Idaho town and you’re invited to help catch them

By Rett Nelson, | Posted - Sep. 13, 2020 at 6:26 p.m.

ST. ANTHONY, Idaho – Residents of St. Anthony are concerned about an overabundance of rabbits roaming throughout the city.

Elissa Turpin, manager of the Remembering Ruby Rabbit Rescue shelter in Idaho Falls, tells the city reached out to them for help in culling its homeless rabbit population.

“It was either that or start killing them,” Turpin says. “They didn’t want to do that, of course, but they didn’t know what else to do.”

Turpin says the bunnies are mostly concentrated on the west side of town and are living off vegetation in people’s yards. The rabbits are digging holes in people’s yards, she says, and many people are upset because it’s ruining their gardens and plants.

Some people feed the rabbits when they arrive, which only exacerbates the problem.

Turpin says the bunny population has been growing exponentially over the last three or four years.

“One resident told me … he found a mother rabbit with her babies underneath his bush four years ago. He started feeding them, but he never took them in,” says Turpin.

There were some other rabbits in the community, and he believes the animals started breeding, living under people’s bushes and houses, according to Turpin.

“It was probably because he was feeding them that they lasted through the winters,” she says.

The rescue shelter in Idaho Falls is the only place specifically for rabbits in the state of Idaho and that’s why city officials contacted Turpin.

We reached out to city council board member Wendy Sykes for comment, but she was not available.

“Each day that passes is another potential pregnancy and the days are starting to get colder and most of them won’t make it through the winter,” she says. “We expect the city to use this as an example of the dangers and irresponsibility of abandoning pets, which can lead to situations like this.”

Turpin says they’re hoping to catch as many rabbits as they can next weekend. It’s happening Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, at 6 p.m. at Jaycees Park on West 1st North near 8th West.

Turpin is inviting members of the community to come and help.

“It’s really hard to catch bunnies if you go after them one at a time,” she says. “We’re going to try and corral them. If we work together, we can do it more efficiently.”

Those who want to help are asked to bring a flattened cardboard box, blanket or any flat large surface to use in catching them.

The catch is expected to last until dark both days.

Remembering Ruby Rabbit Rescue is in the process of moving to Rexburg. Turpin says the rabbits will be cared for at their temporary location until they can find homes for them.

“Rabbits require quite a bit of care — more than people realize,” Turpin says. “We want people to be educated before they get a pet and to know” what they’re getting into.

If you happen to see rabbits roaming around, Turpin is asking you to reach out.

Remembering Ruby Rabbit Rescue is at 1561 West Sunnyside Road inside the Contractor’s Village west of Pony Express Car Wash. A number is not listed, but the email address is

A permanent Rexburg location is expected to open before the end of the year. Visit the Facebook page for more information.

Rett Nelson

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