ARLINGTON, VA — The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is asking for the public’s help in finding the people responsible for shooting rabbits with a blow dart.
Earlier this month, AWLA’s Animal Control Department began receiving calls about two rabbits found in the 700 and 800 blocks of North Barton Street with what appeared to be blow darts stuck in their bodies.
One of the rabbits had the dart stuck through their head area, and the other rabbit had the dart stuck in their side, AWLA said Monday.
“This behavior will not be tolerated here in Arlington. This is an act of animal cruelty,” Jennifer Toussaint, chief of animal control for Arlington County, said in a statement.
Toussaint said AWLA and other animal welfare groups “put so much time and emphasis on teaching tolerance and harmonious coexistence with local wildlife in an effort to prevent acts such as this.”
“When groups, associations, or organizations teach intolerance for living things or scapegoat animals for human created conflicts, our wildlife pays the price,” she said.
Animal control officers have worked over the past week, setting humane traps on different properties in an attempt to catch the rabbits.
“Our intention is to bring the rabbit(s) back to AWLA for triage and transportation to an emergency Wildlife Center for medical care,” AWLA said. “We are also working with the Department of Wildlife Resources to coordinate our efforts.”
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AWLA said this is the second time in the past 12 months that the welfare league has discovered the use of projectiles or blow darts on wildlife. About a year ago, a crow was shot and critically injured by a dart shot from a blowgun in the Fairlington neighborhood.
Anyone with knowledge of the incidents or sightings of the rabbits is asked to contact AWLA’s Animal Control Department immediately at 703-931-9241. The public is urged not to chase the rabbits in an attempt to help them.