Police department’s April Fools’ joke highlights realities of raising bunnies

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Police Use April Fools' Joke to Highlight Need for Proper Care of Rabbits

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A Texas police department on Sunday announced a new member of its team: Cross-Hare, a rabbit with tactical training and experience as a Navy SEAL.

The announcement was followed by a hashtag: #EasterIsOnAprilFoolsDay.

Schertz Police Department officials posted the announcement early Sunday, accompanied by a photo of Cross-Hare wearing a police vest.

"Cross-Hare has an extensive tactical background seeing as he's an ex-Navy SEAL," the announcement read. "Cross-Hare's small size will allow him to access small enclosed areas as needed for searches."

The post went on to express excitement about having the bunny on the department’s roster before proclaiming the announcement a joke.

The department’s followers found the prank funny.

“Good one!” one woman wrote.

“Cute! You should keep him,” another commenter said.

Others went along with the joke.

“That rabbit’s got a mean streak a mile wide! He’s a killer, I tell you!” one man wrote.

Another man who identified himself as a retired U.S. Army Special Forces member made a joke at Navy SEALS’ expense.

“You had me sold until you said ‘SEAL,’” the man wrote. “There’s no hair gel, so he’s not a SEAL.”

The rabbit is actually Miss Bunz, a former shelter animal living on Cape Cod who is sometimes called the "real-life Judy Hopps." Judy Hopps is a bunny policewoman character on the animated Disney film, "Zootopia."

Byron Howard, a co-director of the film, caught wind of Miss Bunz a couple of years ago and gave her a shout-out in a tweet.

The rabbit's owner, Nancy Chen, said that through Miss Bunz's voice on social media, she raises awareness of the realities of raising domesticated rabbits and promotes the "Adopt, Don't Shop" movement.

Miss Bunz's website, missbunz.com, explains that she is a crème d'argent dwarf mix who spent the first three years of her life cooped up in a cage.

When her former owners moved in 2012, they did not take her or their other rabbit with them, the website said. Both rabbits ended up at the Massachusetts SPCA, where the other rabbit died.

"In a very short time, I lost my human family and the only bunny friend I ever had," the website reads. "Needless to say, I became very skittish and distrustful of new people, new bunnies and new environments."

Miss Bunz was at the shelter for three months before being adopted. With time and plenty of patience, she became less afraid and now lives with free range of Chen’s house.

She also has a new bunny brother, Mango.

She is also harness trained, so she can play beyond the house and garden. She's become fairly famous, with profiles on the Dodo and the Daily Dot.

“There’s a misconception that rabbits are low maintenance pets,” Chen said Monday. “By sharing Miss Bunz’s life and experiences, I hope to dispel that myth while at the same time, showing others that, with proper care, rabbits are intelligent and social animals.”

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