DULUTH (AP) -- A pair of pet bunnies released on Duluth's Park Point three years ago have reproduced like -- well, rabbits.
The two original rabbits have produced perhaps hundreds of black and white offspring, leaving homeowners hopping mad as they battle the bunnies for their gardens and shrubs.
Park Point is a 5-mile-long spit of sand on Lake Superior with a single street flanked by houses on each side. The rabbits look like stuffed lawn ornaments as they sit motionless in the shade of a tree or peeking out from under a deck.
Veterinarian Mary Wictor said she has fielded dozens of complaint calls from people angry that the rabbits are defoliating the area.
The rampant rabbits so far have evaded control. A volunteer trapping program snared only three; rabbits can't be hunted in a residential neighborhood, and poisons would be dangerous to children and pets.
Natural predators such as fox, bobcats, coyotes, wolves and owls normally would keep the rabbit population in check, but they're not helping either because they don't venture into the populated area.
It is illegal to turn domestic rabbits loose, according to Rich Staffon, the regional wildlife officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. But he said it is not uncommon.
''Normally with these domestic rabbits ... they've pretty well lost their ability to cope with predators and so forth, so they're usually pretty vulnerable. But I think the situation there on Park Point is it's developed enough that there aren't many predators around,'' Staffon said. ''And of course they reproduce at a rapid rate.''
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