NEW YORK – A court case involving 176 Brooklyn rabbits is ruining Easter for Natalie Reeves.
The animal rights activist was sued for $2 billion earlier this week by the rabbit owner for reporting that the bunnies were being kept in a filthy junkyard. Prosecutors said some of the animals also suffered from diseases including syphilis and bite wounds from fighting each other.
The New York Post (http://bit.ly/1y5OCXR ) said their owner, Dorota Trec, was arraigned Friday in Brooklyn Criminal Court. Trec says animal-rights advocates are on a "witch hunt" against her.
The rabbits were seized by police and animal welfare authorities in January from a dirt lot behind a tire shop in the Gowanus neighborhood, after Reeves notifed them. Trec was arrested last month.
Prosecutors demand that she pay for their care in city facilities — at least $40,000 — or sign over ownership. Trec still legally owns the animals.
Reeves is the founder of Big Apple Bunnies, a nonprofit created to help rabbits everywhere, with a special focus on bunnies in the New York City area.
Reeves did not comment on the suit, which also names the New York City Police Department, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Brooklyn district attorney.
Trec accuses authorities of wrongful arrest, trespassing, defamation, harassment and wrongful seizure. But Reeves says the animals were living "like trash in a junkyard."
"Happy Easter to me!" Reeves, a Manhattan attorney, told the Post. "This lawsuit was not what I wanted the Easter Bunny to bring me in his basket."
Information from: New York Post, http://www.nypost.com