Lumberton looks to control rabbit damage with ordinance

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – A new ordinance was issued for rabbit owners at Monday night’s Lumberton City Council meeting. Council members voted to add rabbits under the pre-existing cat ordinance.

Council member Karen Higley said she received at least 10 complaints from neighbors about pet rabbits running loose and wanted to do something about it.

“The rabbits were getting out, they’re eating the flowers, they’re tunneling in their yard,” said Higley. “Just making a mess.”

Higley said before Monday, there had not been a city-issued ordinance regarding rabbits. She said the easiest solution was to add rabbits to the cat ordinance because they share similar requirements. Higley also said there needed to be some kind of accountability on the pet owner.

“I chose the cat ordinance and just added the rabbit to it so we would have an ordinance on the books to give our animal control person an ordinance to follow,” said Higley.

The council member said that not all of the rules that apply to cats will apply to rabbits. For instance, rabbits are not required to have a rabies shot, but cats are. A new rule is that rabbits, like cats, are required to wear a collar under this ordinance.

“The problem we were having was, people had them as pets but they were not keeping them under control,” said Higley.

The ordinance also states that a household can have a maximum of four rabbits. Higley said this would help control the situation.

“The owners would allow them to get out of the pens and just go all over the neighborhood and destroy other people’s property,” said Higley.

Higley said she did not receive any complaints from rabbit owners about the addition of rabbits to the ordinance.