Woman’s 15 pet bunnies cause neighborhood conflict

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Filthy cages, a lack of drinking water, exposure to the element. These are some of the conditions that a neighbor fears for the pet rabbits next door.

"The smell is horrific,” says neighbor Della Bradley.

"You can't eat without seeing them over there in bad conditions. You can't look out the window without seeing how everything is deplorable,” she adds.

From her kitchen window, Bradley says she sees animal neglect firsthand.

"Like this one bunny right here that you can see, he hasn't had no bedding, no water."

Sometimes, she says, resulting in death.

"The one mama had given birth and the babies and they were stuck under the pile of rabbit feces and pee and everything. It was so cold that the babies had no way to make it," Bradley explains.

She says she's counted over thirty rabbits at one point and when she's tried to report it in the past, she's been unsuccessful.

"Every time they know they're being investigated, they take the animals up the street to their friend's house up there or go inside the trailer," she says.

The other side of this case: Owner Delana McCoy will admit she's not been the best caretaker recently.

"They're just in the condition they're in right now, needing their cages cleaned, because I've been sick,” McCoy says.

But she says they're ordinarily well taken care of. In fact, she says she saved them.

When I see or hear about one that needs to be rehomed, I try to help," McCoy explains.

And that the bunnies help her.

"They're like an emotional support animal. I have stress and anxiety real bad," she adds.

Mesa County Animal Services tell us they're investigating. In fact, they say they'll be checking in within the next day. McCoy says she's happy to comply; she’s just tired of hearing from her neighbors across the fence.

"It upsets me. All I want to do is take care of my bunnies,” McCoy says.

Animal Services says they want her to keep cleaner cages, have water available for the rabbits that isn't frozen, and downsize the number of rabbits they have.

McCoy says she's working on rehoming her bunnies. She's reached out to the CSU campus here and to Mesa County 4-H.

Mesa County Animal Services says that rules for rabbit owners aren't as clear as they are for dogs and cats. This investigation is still ongoing.