Dead Rabbit Mystery Solved

March 12, 2008 9:35:24 PM PDT
People who found the dead rabbits believe this to be a case of animal cruelty.The cottontails were found off Highway 140 between Merced and Atwater.

"Sad and upsetting to see that many little rabbits killed."

Robert Griffin made a disturbing discovery on Monday. He found 19 dead cottontail rabbits on a road not far his home. He was so shocked by the crime, he took some of the rabbits home in this grocery bag hoping investigators would be able to catch those responsible. That's when he called a fish and game warden.

"It bothers me because this is a natural resource."

Scott Hall's investigation got a serious boost from a newspaper article about the killings. Hall says four remorseful teens from Los Banos admitted to shooting the rabbits after reading Tuesday's article. The teens told Hall they knew it wasn't hunting season but wanted to make rabbit stew for the family.

Warden Scott Hall, California Fish and Game: "More for fun, killing time, going out onto a ranch where they knew there were some rabbits."

After killing the rabbits in a nearby field the four teens decided to drive home. They told officials they didn't feel like skinning the animals so they threw them down here on the side of the road.

Robert Griffin, Merced Resident: "And I was picking 'em up and putting 'em together. I didn't want them to get run over.

Hall has received two other calls about dead rabbits but claims the four teens are not responsible for those deaths.

Hall: "We tend to believe them because they came forward on this one."

The teens face several misdemeanor counts including hunting out of season and hunting at night.


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