CANNON BEACH, Ore. (AP) — Cannon Beach has discovered that no local, state or federal agency has responsibility for the booming population of feral rabbits that has overtaken the popular beach town and shelters around the state are too overwhelmed with bunnies to take them in.
Some residents complained last month about the bunny infestation and said their lawns were coated with rabbit poop and their gardens were getting nibbled away.
But when the City Council investigated the issue, it found the bunnies slip between the cracks of every state and local agency.
Because they are feral — and not wild — the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife doesn't have any responsibility for the booming rabbit population.
And because they aren't livestock, neither does the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
The city can't relocate them anywhere because the original rabbits were illegally released in the first place and the state's local animal shelters and a rabbit rescue organization are already overrun with rabbits.
The City Council doesn't want to trap or kill the rabbits because they are popular with tourists.
"I would love to see how the (Chamber of Commerce) would deal with the image of Cannon Beach: Bunny killing capital of the world," City Councilor Mike Benefield said.
City councilors did discuss some local measures, like encouraging homeowners to do their own trapping and requiring residents to keep bunnies in hatches like they do chickens if they want to keep them around.
Mayor Sam Steidel suggested looking into a ban on feeding wildlife since many neighbors believe the problem is escalating because of some residents and tourists intentionally feeding the bunnies.
For now, the city will continue researching and is open to ideas from the public.