ROSWELL, Ga. — Dozens of rabbits running loose in a Sandy Springs forest preserve have been captured. There's now a reward to help find who is dumping would-be pets into the wild.
Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach was along for the roundup Sunday that captured nearly 30 rabbits.
A hiker, out for an evening stroll in the woods, spotted rabbit, after rabbit, after rabbit and shot cellphone video of them.
Dozens were roaming the Big Trees Forest Preserve on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs. The problem: They weren’t born in the wild.
Volunteers with the Georgia House Rabbit Society were back out at the preserve Sunday morning after wrangling 24 rabbits in the dark Saturday night.
"They're pretty quick. It was touch and go for a second," Dresden Lackey told Gehlbach.
The cute, cuddly, cottontails aren't meant to be running free. They should be someone's pet.
"When I see a rabbit that's been dumped, I know it's not going to survive, unless it gets saved," Lackey said.
The domesticated rabbits are bred without the fear of humans. The problem is they're also bred with no fear of hawks, coyotes, foxes, raccoons or anything else that might want to make them lunch.
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Lackey is now fostering more than two dozen rabbits in her small home, calling the operation the largest case the rescue group and shelter has ever seen.
The rabbits, outside for days and most in bad condition, were likely left in the wooded area by a breeder or hoarder.
The organization is offering a $1,000 reward to find who's responsible and prosecute them.
"These rabbits, they don't deserve this. No animal does. And seeing this, it's heartbreaking. But we do what we can and we can't do it without help," Lackey told Gehlbach.
The Georgia House Rabbit Society needs help from the public to care for all the rabbits. It is asking for donations and foster homes to take some of them, otherwise they'll be turned over to animal control and killed.