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Victory: PETA Prompts Rabbits’ Rescue!

Written by PETA | August 22, 2012

Update: On August 20, Carole Van Wie, the operator of Bunny Magic Wildlife & Rabbit Rescue, Inc., was charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals. The charges follow an August 8 raid on the facility—prompted by a PETA complaint—in which law-enforcement officers seized 222 rabbits. Officials reportedly had to don masks to rescue the flea-infested and sick rabbits from up to 4 inches of feces and urine. Investigators apparently found one rabbit dead in a cage and others denied food or water. According to news sources, seven of the rabbits rescued that day could not be saved.

Originally posted August 8:

Welcome news! Today, many, many rabbits are being removed by Calvert County, Maryland, officials from what could be called a sham “sanctuary,” Bunny Magic Wildlife & Rabbit Rescue, Inc., in Lusby. The seizure was prompted by evidence gathered by PETA of systemic—and sometimes fatal—neglect of animals at the “rescue,” following a whistleblower’s tip-off.


Many neglected rabbits’ nails were overgrown. Some caught on wire cage bottoms while others curled dangerously toward the animals’ sensitive feet.

Disgusting Filth, Disease, and Death

PETA submitted evidence and a detailed complaint to Calvert County Animal Control and State’s Attorney Laura Martin’s Office, which has opened a criminal investigation into Bunny Magic, run by President Carole Van Wie. We thank law enforcement for acting promptly and PETA Investigations & Rescue Fund donors for providing us with the resources needed to follow up on the whistleblower’s tip.

PETA found that Bunny Magic consisted of little more than Van Wie’s garage, which reeked of ammonia, and a dark shed that was overrun with rodents. It had no paid help to care for its more than 200 rabbits and other animals. Van Wie deprived rabbits of needed veterinary care and left contagious animals in contact with others, risking the spread of disease. Photographs show that Bunny Magic was little more than a hoarding facility, amassing far more animals than it could properly care for.


Dead rabbits crammed into a freezer


Scores of rabbits kept in cramped, stacked cages


Rabbits (who are fastidiously clean animals) were unable to avoid stepping in their own feces, which was allowed to accumulate for days

One neglected rabbit, Rockette, suffered with a severely twisted neck, struggling to stand up on her own; she was denied nursing and veterinary care and left to languish and defecate on herself until she finally died. Another rabbit, named George, who had a months-long respiratory infection that filled his throat with pus, was rescued from Bunny Magic before PETA met with officials but could not be saved. A veterinarian recommended that George be put out of his misery.

What You Can Do

The rabbits are being rescued only because a courageous whistleblower reported how horrified he or she was by Bunny Magic, reminding us that we should never be silent when animals are in trouble.

Please be sure, before adopting any animals, that you’re ready to make a lifetime commitment to caring for them. Beware of hoarders pretending to operate so-called “no-kill” rescues or sanctuaries who promise to care for unwanted animals but instead will only subject them to prolonged suffering and a prolonged, miserable death. If you take an animal to a shelter, make sure it’s operated responsibly.

Victories like this one are made possible in part through the generosity of PETA Investigations & Rescue Fund supporters. To learn more about this vital fund and how you can support the rescue of more animals, click here! 

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  • Lisa & Janelle says:

    So glad these buns were saved- we have rabbits ourselves, and they are family. I know this person started out with good intentions, but this is absolutely over the top. We pray that these buns all find loving homes just like Lucy and Peggy did!

  • missy77 says:

    PETA you guys are truly amazing!!! When i read this i was disgusted that someone could actually live with themselves and not think about these animals all the time and give them the utmost care.You guys have opened my eyes to the realness of animal abuse.Keep speaking for the voiceless!! :)

  • Ashlynn says:

    thankyou PETA for putting this out in the open because this makes me sick how someone could live with them self after knowing how much misery they alone are putting animals through

  • s says:

    Rabbits need space to run – at least by day. From reading everything, I do not believe the person seized meant harm, but was rescuing to prevent the deaths of these animals for food, but lacked the resources to give the animals a GOOD life. We must be careful that we do not participate in the rollout of the totalitarian state under DHS. The answer was for PETA to rescue the animals from the sources by way of good communication skills, not to call in the “hounds” as it were, and destroy the life of a well-meaning person.

  • Melanie says:

    Keep standing up for the voiceless! <3

  • Lori O. says:

    I adopted a rabbit from Bunny Magic four years ago, and know that the person who ran this operation cares deeply about rabbits. It is so sad that without resources, this person could not make it work as she wanted it to be. Perhaps as a society, we need to support people who have the will to save homeless rabbits, possibly through monetary contribution or just volunteering our time to help clean cages, trim nails, feed the shelter rabbits, or just call and ask “how are you? Is there anything I can do to help?”

  • Animal Lover says:

    The person that ran this site is not a cruel, sadistic person. She is a person with a kind heart who was trying to help animals. Obviously she had more than she could handle but unlike some stories in the news this was not a case of someone who was intentionally trying to hurt animals. Sad story all around.

  • Jessica says:

    My husband and I adopted a rabbit from this seizure. We have had him for 2 days and he is doing well. Fresh veggies, pellets, hay and water given to him each day. He is in a 4′ x 3′ cage with a solid bottom. He loves his toy carrot, which is loves to toss around his cage. We are going to give about a week to get use to his new surroundings before we allow to come out of his cage. Its a sad situation but we are glad that we could provide a better life for one of the rescued bunnies.

  • Rabbit Rescue says:

    120 of the rabbits have been released to the shelter and can go to rescues or be adopted. Transportation is available if you need it. Even if you can take one or 2 that helps. There are a lot of rabbits to place. If interested please email rabbitinfo@rabbitsinthehouse.org

  • alameda point bunny rescue robin summeril says:

    comment for Karen, your correct, we should not keep rabbits in a cage. Mine are all kept in corrals,so they can run around and see or be with each other. We must change the minds of people caring for rabbits. Thanks for your input.

  • Mona says:

    I am grateful that Peta intervened, yet reports are coming out that the shelter the buns are being kept at does not have the space or ability to care for these rabbits and that they are no better off than where they were. I should think that Peta should assist in making sure these rabbits are getting the care they need

  • giovanna says:

    OK PETA! TANKS Giovanna Italia

  • karin yates says:

    It looks no different than the average person who “owns” a rabbit and keeps it in a small cage with a wire bottom, alone. So these rabbits were seized, and presumably put up for adoption only to end up in another small wire cage alone.

  • paula says:

    Thank you PETA. You are so brave in your efforts to save animals from cruelty. Keep up the good work.

  • Krystal O'Mahoney says:

    I own 12 rabbits and care for all of them! It is not that hard to keep rabbits in a clean environment!! You should be ashamed letting the rabbits living conditions get this poor.

  • Lynda, NZ says:

    What a marvellous organisation you are. I am so grateful to you and other organisations like you who do such amazing, wonderful work world-wide for all creatures great and small. When we succumb to dispairing about the atrocities of life, it’s your newsletters that give hope.

  • Angie says:

    Great Job !!! Thank you for that. Where did this happen ? Is it possible to help and take one or two ?

  • fatima says:

    спасите животных

  • ivana says:

    THANK YOU PETA AND ALL PEOPLE HELPING OR RESCUING ANIMALS !!!! IF WE ALL HELP ANIMALS , NO ABUSE , NO TORTURE , WE WILL LIVE IN PARADISE .

  • Jennifer says:

    This is so horrible but I’m glad you guys intervened. I live in MD and don’t typically hear of these type of things happening here, normally it’s some weird back woods place down south. If you guys are having an adoption event for the animals please let us know, I would definitely pass on the word if so!

  • naomi cohen says:

    good work, PETA. these beautiful babies and all animals of the world need to be taken from the miserable sadists who only torture and murder them.

  • Deborah says:

    Thank you, AGAIN, PeTA!!!

  • jeanine.wietrich says:

    Stop aux maltraitances les animaux ont droit a une belle vie tout comme les humains

  • kate says:

    please,this make my crazy! stop with it! the world look so much beter than!!!

  • Jenna says:

    Hi I rescue rabbits all the time from people and I would to help find some of these rabbits a happy home.

  • Alice C, Davis says:

    I am so glad we have an organization like PETA to check all around the World for injustices done to our dear God given creatures. Keep up the good work and let`s try to “train” these cruel so called human beings. I can not imagine why the do this to our dear animals.

  • Amy Slingerland says:

    All who will mistreat an animal should be treated the same way! Animals are God’s creatures too and deserve better than this. Any human that can mistreat an animal is not worthy of even being allowed to live and needs to lay in their own muck as these animals have, hurt and suffering to their death!

  • Sarah Hague says:

    …..keep up all your great work with the animals of the world, like these poor rabbits……Sx

  • ingrid daniel says:

    Danke<3

  • Mariuccia Fornasari says:

    STOP STOP STOP

  • Genevieve Oudebeek, The Netherlands says:

    The people are the beasts :’(

  • MARTHA LIBIA PE&#209;A HERRERA says:

    GRACIAS A PETA POR RESCATAR A ESOS POBRES ANIMALES, PORQUE LOS QUE TENIAN A ESTOS ANIMALES.NO SE PREOCUPABAN POR ELLOS. SON SERES INHUMANOS, SABIEDO QUE SI SE TIENEN ENCERRADOS SE LES DEBE BRINDAR LOS CUIDADOS NECESARIOS, NO TENERLOS EN ESAS CONDICIONES.

  • colleen gilbee says:

    heir website is still up and running trying to take donations. !!!!. Please have someone take it down!!!!! As the world slowly wakes up and our hearts and eyes start to open wide we realize that we can and must love and honor the innocent animal kingdom and that we can change the terrors and horrors of what now exists. PETA thank you

  • MCK 3-26 says:

    I am happy to see that these animals will no longer suffer in these horrendous conditions. Thanks to the whistleblower,whoever you may be. You absolutely did the right thing.

  • Artur Cesar Ramos de Castro says:

    I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked I am shocked and … shocked again! Incredible, the human evil…

  • Inga says:

    YOU ROCK PETA!!!! I am so glad you helped these animals.

  • carrie kenney says:

    Thank you PETA your wonderful !

  • Merlene Stuerzer-Rhodes says:

    All creatures capable of love have God’s Spirit in them as that is where love comes from. We are them…they are us…only the body is different…msr

  • shannon horn says:

    STOP!

  • Narda A. Kramer says:

    I thank God for people who help expose the inhumane cruelties that occur under the guise of sanctuary. It seems to me they would want better treatment for themselves so the fact that they do abuse these animals tells me that they have problems mentally. Thank you Peta for getting their actions known and helping to save what animals they can from these people.

  • Florence Eaise says:

    I can not beloeve that these rabbits were treated so badly and living in such squallor thanks PETA for saving them!

  • Cassandra says:

    Their website is still up and running trying to take donations. !!!!. Please have someone take it down!!!!!

  • Jacqueline says:

    As the world slowly wakes up and our hearts and eyes start to open wide we realize that we can and must love and honor the innocent animal kingdom and that we can change the terrors and horrors of what now exists. PETA thank you, for you know this all along. xx J

  • chander kumar soni says:

    stop this cruelty.

  • Dani says:

    Situations like this always make me sad, but not as angry as outright physical abuse. Hoarders often suffer from mental issues, especially with age, and think they are “saving” all the animals they don’t have the means to care for. I hope this person is prevented from taking on animals again.

  • belen maroto says:

    no more cruelty

  • Richard says:

    PETA IS AWESOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • aisling says:

    thank you so much peta.if it wasn’t for you this would still be going on

  • Beth says:

    I more recently started getting emails from PETA and I am finding that with every email about cruelty, the more disgusted and sad I become. Stories like these help me to realize that we can make change and help innocent animals even though many situations seem bleak.

  • Gabrielle Puccini says:

    I am shocked that anyone could subject these innocent animals to such unhealthy living conditions. It is unfortunate we have people who conduct themselves in suh a manner and approve of such unhealthy conditions. I hope PETA is able to shut down this facility. Thank you PETA for all your great work.

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