MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA.com) — Seniors in Mission Viejo want permission to shoot bunnies in their communities with pellet guns.
KNX 1070’s Karen Harlow reports residents were set Monday to ask the City Council to amend a local ordinance as part of an effort to keep rabbits from eating through expensive landscaping and leaving dirt patches in their lawns.
Residents in the gated 55-and-older Casta del Sol and Palmia neighborhoods say rabbits have been a nuisance for several years and are asking their respective homeowners associations to hire a pest management company to kill the cottontails with air-powered pellet guns.
While the city’s firearms ordinance prohibits such practices, homeowners want the City Council to make an exception that would allow shooting in a 30-minute window both before sunrise and after sunset, when rabbits tend to be the most active, according to the Orange County Register.
Shooters would also be required to have related firearms experience and would be prohibited from shooting toward homes or other buildings, The Register reported.
Over 1,200 rabbits were shot last year in Casta del Sol, with 181 rabbits killed in the month of May, more than any other month, according to data cited by The Register.
While the effort has gained some momentum, an online petition started by Gerard and Catherine Scortino entitled “Stop Killing Rabbits” has failed to garner the same support.
The petition instead urges homeowners to keep their lawns uncut – “rabbits don’t like the tall grass under their bellies” – and plant onion, lavender or catnip borders around their garden to keep out the bunnies.
As of Monday, the petition had reached five signatures.
Homeowners associations with Casta del Sol and Palmia initially requested the variances to the city’s firearm ordinance in 2005, 2010, and 2012, but such variances must be renewed every two years.
The Mission Viejo City Council meeting is set for 6 p.m. at 200 Civic Center.