Unannounced rabbit cull at Sidmouth council grounds

PUBLISHED: 20:05 15 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:45 18 June 2010

THREE wild rabbits have been killed in another cull instigated after complaints from residents living next to the Knowle council offices, Sidmouth.

THREE wild rabbits have been killed in another cull instigated after complaints from residents living next to the Knowle council offices, Sidmouth.

Dog lovers Annie Reddish and Peter Atkinson, who stumbled on the unannounced cull last Thursday, described the secret shooting of rabbits as "cull-duggery".

"They wanted it to be kept quiet this time around, presumably hoping we wouldn't notice," said Annie, from Glebelands.

An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said nearby residents were told, but because some people were upset by the last cull it decided to carry the shooting out quietly.

She said: "We will not, therefore, be telling anyone in advance when it is due to take place."

Mr Atkinson lives in Knowle Drive, where some complainants live.

He said: "I have five rabbits in the garden and I haven't cut my grass since last September.

"What is EDDC hoping to achieve? This is a public park and the rabbits are a fantastic, natural feature with every right to be there. Live by a park and this is what you can expect.

"What a pity StreetScene cannot concentrate on road and path clearance."

They wondered if council staff undertaking the cull were licensed and asked: "Are they actually succeeding in killing the rabbits that neighbours are complaining about, or are they simply picking off the tamer population, old ones that do not stray?"

EDDC's spokeswoman confirmed the cull was the result of residents complaining "about serious damage being caused to their gardens by rabbits living in, or originating from, our grounds."

She said the council was obliged to accede to their request as wild rabbits are classified as pests.

All officers involved with the cull were experienced shots and fully trained, using air rifles which need no licence, to kill the rabbits humanely.

"There was hazard tape on entrances to the park and, at the point where it was not possible to put tape up, one of our officers was positioned so that he could view the entire park and entrances and alert anyone entering the grounds.

"Our officers were shooting at the far low end of the property, which was completely sealed off and they were taking great care with each shot."

*Under the Pests Act 1954 landowners have an obligation to clear rabbits from their property or prevent them causing damage elsewhere.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald