A 7-year-old Connecticut girl will lose her 20-pound pet rabbit if North Haven officials get their way.
Zoning Enforcement Officer Arthur Hausman issued a cease-and-desist order to the Lidsky family two weeks ago, informing them that they were violating town zoning regulations because their property was smaller than the 2 acres required to keep rabbits and other types of livestock.
More than 1,800 people have signed an online petition demanding that town officials allow Kayden Lidsky to keep the 3-year-old Flemish giant rabbit named Sandy. Kayden's father, Josh Lidsky, has vowed to appeal the order and is angered that town officials have upset his daughter.
"I don't want the bunny to go," Kayden Lidsky said, according to the petition on change.org.
"She's not a mean bunny. She doesn't bite people. She only licks."
- Kayden Lidsky, 7
"She's not a mean bunny," Kayden told WTIC-TV. "She doesn't bite people. She only licks."
North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda said town officials are not trying to take the bunny away from the girl, but are instead trying to get Josh Lidsky to respond to neighbors' complaints about blighted conditions on his property.
In May, town officials inspected the property and asked Lidsky to take several actions, including removing the rabbit hutch, replacing missing siding on his house and repairing an unfinished addition.
Lidsky says he's appealing Hausman's order about the rabbit to the town's Zoning Board of Appeals, but he's willing to clean up his yard.
"The whole story is about my daughter and the bunny," Lidsky told the New Haven Register. "That is hitting below the belt. I want the bunny to stay on the property, for my daughter's sake."
Linda Thibault, president of the Hopalong Hollow animal rescue service in Norwalk, started the online petition on change.org.
"The situation with North Haven's zoning is ridiculous," she told the Register. "We're not talking about a breeder or multiple rabbits. We're talking about one pet bunny who is obviously beloved and well-cared for.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.