After a two-year court battle, Dorota Trec has been sentenced to jail on charges of animal cruelty. The eccentric collector kept upwards of 180 rabbits, many of which suffered from wounds and other diseases after being kept in an unclean and unsafe environment.
“This whole trial has been ridiculous, starting with the accusations that were based on nothing,” Trec said of the court's decision. “This is a group of individuals who don’t want people to have animals. They are just using the situation to assume I mistreated them.”
Trec is a Polish immigrant who began collecting rabbits and keeping them in a vacant lot after moving to Brooklyn in 2000. “By having this one rabbit for 10 years, I noticed how special rabbits are,” she says. “They are really outstanding and cannot even compare to dogs and cats. The day [my first rabbit] died, I realized that not only did I miss him as a friend, but something clicked in me: I’m a rabbit girl and that I will have rabbits forever ... I started to save rabbits from the poultry market, where they sell and kill them for food. That became my priority, to save these rabbits one by one.”
The animals were eventually seized and Trec now faces 45 days in jail, a ban from owning pets for five years, and a $23,569.32 to be paid to the non-profit who took in the bunnies. She'll also be forced to add herself to an Animal Abusers Registry and undergo mental health treatment, according to Crimefeed. Trec continues to insist she is not mentally ill.
“These rabbits were undeniably living in squalid conditions and suffering from multiple injuries and illnesses,” Stacy Wolf, senior vice-president at the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group, says. “A joint effort between law enforcement and animal welfare organizations from across three states was required to rescue and rehabilitate the rabbits, and it’s heartening to see them thriving in their new loving homes where they are safe and their needs are being met.”
“The rabbit represents the magical part of our lives. The playful part, the mystery,” she the defendant Trec before the sentencing. “They are full of humor and can do the unexpected. They are worth it for me to work for the rest of my life for them.”
The ASPCA is still attempting to adopt out members of Trec's brood.