Dog Park in JP Closes to Save a Family of Bunnies

The MSPCA hopes to avoid a massacre.

Small Rabbit

photo via Fedyukovich

Updated Tuesday, Sept. 13, 10:15 a.m.: The bunnies, according to the MSPCA, have left their sanctuary and have rejoined the Jamaica Plain community outside the dog park. The park re-opened today, although it’s still off limits to professional dog-walkers, and remains closed 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, says spokesman Rob Halpin. He also hopes those who sent their best wishes to the family of bunnies over the past two weeks might consider adopting a rabbit from its facility. The MSPCA has waived the usual adoption fees for bunnies through Sept. 25.

Earlier: A bundle of newborn bunnies will be spared the fate of becoming chew toys for the next 2-3 weeks, as the MSPCA has decided to close down its Jamaica Plain dog park until the little ones are old enough to make it on their own.

The litter of baby rabbits was born earlier this week into an underground nest in the community park, which, unbeknownst to their mom, welcomes off-leash canines from around the neighborhood daily. Because it’s the only park in the area where dogs can run around leash-free, it’s a bustling hot spot—the constant parade of paws turning the formerly grassy fenced-in area into a wide circle of dirt. It’s basically the last place a rabbit in Jamaica Plain would want to raise its young family.

So on Tuesday, the inevitable happened.

“A dog dug in and snatched one,” says Rob Halpin, a spokesman.

One casualty deep and fearing a massacre, the MSPCA decided today to turn the entire space into a makeshift, temporary bunny sanctuary.

The nonprofit explained its decision Wednesday in a series of tweets, writing, “We anticipate re-opening the park in two to three weeks after the babies have been weaned and are able to move on,” and, “We ask for patience as we prioritize the safety of who share this space with the community.” It’s in keeping with the MSPCA’s philosophy on coexisting with wildlife, which says humans should do all they can to keep terrible things from happening to animals in their midst.

Halpin, in an email, says he hopes locals will sympathize with the imperiled family of rabbits, even if that means inconveniencing their own furry friends for a while. “We’re confident our supporters will understand that we’re elevating the welfare of this family of bunnies above and beyond access—just for a limited time.”

Asked whether he had any photos of JP’s new pointy-eared neighbors, Halpin says he doesn’t.

“Alas, no,” he writes. “Mom stays away during the day to avoid drawing attention to the bunnies. She comes back at night to keep them warm. They remain hidden in their underground lair throughout the day. The only way for me to get a photo would be to disturb the nest again, which I’m unwilling to do given the trauma they endured yesterday. Sorry 🙁 !”

Understood. Be well, little guys.