SPOKANE, Wash. — Children at a downtown preschool got an unplanned lesson in animal rights activism when their pet rabbit was stolen and anti-circus fliers were left in the animal’s cage.
Sugar Bunny vanished from the Community Building Children’s Center during a celebration of building renovations Saturday evening, teachers said.
“Somebody stoled him,” 5-year-old Zion told The Spokesman-Review, which gave only the first names of him and other children in a report on the heist. “I’m sad.”
Lori Peters, a teacher, said watching, petting and playing with Sugar Bunny helped the little children overcome separation anxiety. The theft is being reported to police but it’s unclear whether the preschool will find a new pet, she added.
The fliers that were left were for protests against the Ringling Brothers Circus, which was in town Friday through Sunday, and showed a picture of a bear trying to escape beneath the bars of a cage. Listed at the bottom were People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Northwest Animal Rights Network.
Daphna Nachminovitch, director of PETA’s domestic animal department, said the group would not endorse stealing a pet bunny.
“Just like dogs and cats, (rabbits) have been domesticated, so we encourage people who have the knowledge and ability to adopt rabbits from their local shelters,” Nachminovitch said.
Teachers gathered the children in a circle Monday to remember Sugar Bunny, some by drawing pictures and others by writing songs.
“We talked about how some people have different ideas about animals,” Peters. “Some people don’t think they should be in cages.”