Canada-US UVic Rabbit Rescue threatened by Whitehouse, Texas

The Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in Whitehouse, Texas, USA is under threat of being declared illegal by city hall.  Wild Rose has received hundreds of spayed and neutered rabbits from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada campus.  The rabbits were going to be killed by the University's (UVic's) administration when TRACS and others stepped in to relocate the unwanted rabbits to sanctuaries.  A herculean effort and fine example of international cooperation shows that Americans and Canadians can work together to save precious lives.  In this case, abandoned pet rabbits and their offspring have been received by Wild Rose as part of their original mission to rescue and rehabilitate animals of all sorts, including deer, squirrels, pigeons, rabbits, and dogs.  All of the rabbits they receive are healthy, with spays and neuters thankfully funded by Furbearer Defenders of Vancouver, Canada. 

On Tuesday Feb 22, 2011 Whitehouse City Hall is voting to pass a law ("Animal Control" Ordinance 11-0211-01) that would limit all households within city limits to only 4 cats or dogs per household.  The Whitehouse Council tried to rush through this ordinance by holding a 'special' meeting this past Friday night. Concerned residents turned out en masse to ask questions about the hasty assembly. Limiting the number of pets per household would not only hurt farmers within city limits that have livestock, but it  would spell disaster for Wild Rose owners, Georgeanne and Bob Lenham, as they have dedicated their lives to saving animals. Bob is a decorated war veteran with two Purple Hearts and a Navy Medal of Commendation for Valor, and Georganne is a singer-songwriter and author, her most recent novel is 'Noah and the Bunnies'. 

The Lenhams believe the introduction of this ordinance stems from a neighbour's complaint about barking dogs and a previous incident with a deer.  The Lenhams ranch was there before the neighboring housing development existed, and several neighbors whose back yards adjoin the ranch have nothing but praise for the sanctuary, even saying that the former owners cattle got out on occasion to eat their grass.  (Nobody got upset because this is part of life in east Texas.) 

Previous to this, although the rescued dogs have resided on the property for well over a year, they only received one complaint, three weeks ago, regarding noise on their property prior to this meeting.  The reaction by City Hall seems to be overkill as the Lenhams are on a 47-acre parcel of agricultural land and have, on several occasions, asked their neighbors if the dogs were too loud.  They've tried to be good, responsible neighbors.  Whitehouse City Hall must consider that not all households in their jurisdiction should be limited to 4 dogs or cats.  Animal support folks such as Wild Rose should be allowed to continue their public service to the community.  They are saving animals that others have abandoned or are unable to care for.  The Canadian bunnies, who have traveled 2,400 miles to the safety of the ranch, may be homeless if this ordinance is allowed to pass. 

By signing this petition, you are asking the Mayor and City Council of Whitehouse to modify their pet ordinance to allow the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch to continue housing and caring for abandoned animals.  Should the mayor and city councillors choose instead to pass a pet ordinance restricting the number of pets allowed in any city household, we ask that all animals residing in households prior to the actual date of their vote be grandfathered in and allowed to legally remain in their current residences; and for Wild Rose Rescue Ranch to be allowed to continue their work of rescuing abandoned animals and adopting them out whenever possible regardless of whether they exceed maximum allowable numbers or not.

If you wish to contact the Mayor and City Council directly (Please CC: lenham@aol.com; laura-leah@shaw.ca; saveuvicrabbits@gmail.com): 

Mayor Danny Hogden: dhogden@whitehousetx.org;
City Manager Mike Peterson: mpeterson@whitehousetx.org;
Assistant City Manager Kevin Huckabee: khuckabee@whitehousetx.org;
City Secretary Stefani Wright: swright@@whitehousetx.org;

Whitehouse City Council Members:
Mike Jeter: mjeter@whitehousetx.org;
Pat Powell: ppowell@whitehousetx.org;
Tony Hill: thill@whitehousetx.org;
Charles Parker: cparker@whitehousetx.org;
Paul Licht: plicht@whitehousetx.org
For more info on Whitehouse, TX:  www.whitehousetx.org or Phone: 903-839-4914/Fax: 903-839-4915 

You can also help by donationing money to fund any necessary legal challenges to the proposed ordinance by the City of Whitehouse, Texas to ensure that the rabbits are not evicted and help with the ongoing cost of maintaining the rabbits at Wild Rose. Canadians can scroll down to the bottom of this page to make a tax deductible donation; Americans and others can donate directly to the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch at http://www.wildroserescueranch.com or you can donate your airmiles for our necessary travel back and forth to the meetings in Texas. Contact: laura-leah@shaw.ca

Additionally, you can adopt one of the lovable dogs at the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch. This will help alleviate concerns by neighbors complaining about noise levels and at the same time, give you a faithful and loving companion. Check out the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch site (above) and click on Pet Adoptions.

Please sign the petition and see the related petition:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-bunny-kill/
For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation in Canada:  http://www.tracs-bc.ca/uvicbun.html
For more information about Wild Rose:  http://www.wildroserescueranch.com
On Facebook:  Wild Rose Rescue Ranch
On Facebook:  TRACS for Texas-bound Bunnies
Dear Mayor and Council,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you concerning proposed Ordinance 11-0211-01 "Animal Control". As a supporter of the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch, I am deeply concerned that the ordinance will prevent the animal sanctuary from continuing to provide a very valuable service to your community. The property, which covers 47 acres, is zoned for agricultural use for all but 3/4 of an acre. The owners, Bob and Georganne Lenham, have dedicated their mission to help rescue and rehabilitate animals, including deer, rabbits, squirrels, and dogs. They have over 20 years experience. Bob is a decorated veteran with two Purple Hearts and a Navy Commendation Medal of Valor and Georganne is a singer-songwriter and published author.


Additionally, the Lenhams have helped rescue a group of domestic pet rabbits that have come from as far as Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The rabbits would have been killed by the administration of the University of Victoria after enjoying over 20 years of peaceful existence on the grounds of the campus. All of the rabbits are spayed and neutered and they have veterinarian certificates of health. These defenceless former pets needed a home and Bob and Georganne were kind enough to offer their sanctuary property. With the help of the local boy scout troop, they built enclosed, secure pens to house the rabbits and they have local volunteers who provide ongoing care.


From our understanding, this ordinance intends to limit the number of pets in a household to 4. However, what about families and properties where the animals being kept are not exactly pets? Please review all aspects of the impact of this ordinance on the community. You may wish to contact the other agencies, state, federal, and non-profit advocacy organizations who have the knowledge and expertise to advise you on these matters. There must be other options, including exceptions made for animal rescue societies. One simple solution would be to grandfather existing properties with more than 4 animals so that they will not be adversely affected by this ordinance.


The Wild Rose Rescue Ranch and other animal groups need to have the freedom to continue saving creatures that need their help. Abandoned and injured pets are the responsibility of the larger community when irresponsible pet owners do not care for them properly.


Thank you for taking the time and thought to contemplate the effects of this ordinance. Please ensure that the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch can continue in their compassionate undertaking and that the rabbits, secure in their pens, can live out the rest of their lives in peace and safety at this location .


Sincerely,

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