Rabbit trouble

Wild (or at least feral) rabbits that chew up backyard lawns and gardens are riling up folks in Tarzana and Woodland Hills. Daily News garden columnist Joshua Siskin ran some letters Saturday from homeowners who consider the intruders to be pests. “No amount of Liquid Fence (a deer and rabbit repellent), hot pepper spray or even our 100-pound German shepherd keeps them away,” wrote a woman from the Tarzana hills. (Actually I’m kind of surprised the dog doesn’t take care of business for her…) Personally, I enjoy it when rabbits come around. I’ve lived in two neighborhoods now where black cottontails occasionally appear at night on lawns, though not in big enough numbers to do any damage.

Now for the history angle. When the San Fernando Valley floor was mostly open range and wheat fields, rabbits apparently did get out of hand. Consider this 1892 photograph showing hundreds of rabbits caught in a roundup on the Valley floor, while men and women look on. There’s no other location info; the caption simply says “Rabbit rodeo in the valley.” From the Security Bank historical collection at the Los Angeles Public Library:

A different view of the 1892 roundup on pg. 37 of The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb appears to show boys clubbing rabbits trapped in the large pen.