COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Animal welfare groups in Cottage Grove and Creswell said they've been trying to change the annual Animal Scramble at the Cottage Grove Rodeo for years, without success. This year, some folks leading the effort brought a camera to the event and posted video footage of the scramble on YouTube.
Small animals - this year the animals were rabbits - were tossed in the middle of the arena from the back of a moving vehicle. Dozens of children lined up for and then chased the animals for a chance to catch a critter and take it home.
The President of the Humane Society of Cottage Grove said it's a dangerous environment for the animals and some families may not be able to care for the rabbits once the children take them home.
"The animals have got to be totally terrified," said Janetta Overholser, President of the Humane Society of Cottage Grove. "To pick them up wrong can result in a broken back or leg. You've got kids out there chasing and running, falling, tripping."
She continued: "In the past, some of the feed stores have been contacted asking them to take care of the rabbits because they weren't able to take care of it. Last year when there were roosters involved, there were parents that (sic) said, "I forgot that it's illegal to have a rooster inside city limits. We have a free rooster.' "
The Humane Society has teamed up with the Red Barn Rabbit Rescue in Creswell to try to change the event. They say the best case scenario would be to end the scramble altogether, but there are ways to modify it, to keep the animals safe and to educate parents and children to make sure the animals go to homes ready for the responsibility.
NewsSource 16 attempted to contact several members of the Cottage Grove Riding Club and Rodeo, without response.