Woman pleads guilty to animal abandonment after dumping bunnies in Middletown park

More than 40 rabbits were dumped at Smith Park in Middletown.
More than 40 rabbits were dumped at Smith Park in Middletown.(WXIX)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 2:32 PM EDT
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MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (FOX19) - A woman has pleaded guilty to seven counts of animal abandonment after leaving 35 bunnies at a Middletown park last Saturday.

Leah Mendoza, 43, was given a suspended 90-day jail sentence and was ordered by the judge in Middletown court Friday to not own pets for five years.

However, the judge said she is allowed to keep her two service dogs and rabbit which must be spayed or neutered.

Mendoza was also ordered to perform 35 hours of community service and will be on probation for a year.

A Middletown police officer says she was contacted on Facebook last Saturday about a woman who was reportedly going to abandon 47 rabbits at the park.

When the officer arrived around 8 a.m. to look for the bunnies there were already several animal rescue crews and volunteers catching the animals.

Around 10:30 a.m., one of the volunteers told the officer that they knew where the owner lived and that she had more bunnies at her house, the police report reads.

When the officer arrived at the house, Mendoza said she dumped 10 to 15 bunnies at the park, “so she knew where they were and so she could take care of them,” the report said.

When the officer told her that more were found, she answered, “Then you tell me how many I dumped?”

The report goes on to say that Mendoza admitted to having more bunnies inside her house. The officer, who describes the smell inside her basement as “horrendous,” stated that she had bunny feces, food, dirty water, and hay everywhere.

Last Sunday, the officer was contacted by the rescues advising that they trapped two more bunnies at the park and took the remaining 16 bunnies from Mendoza’s house.

In total, 35 bunnies were trapped at the park and 30 were taken from her home.

Most of the bunnies only had minor injuries.

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