Arlington rabbit shot with blow dart recovers, search for shooter continues

Officials captured one of two rabbits that were shot with blow darts in an Arlington neighborhood. Now, the search is on for the second rabbit – and whoever is responsible.

The rabbits were spotted by neighbors near the 700 block of North Barton Street, according to county animal control officers as well as the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. They said one of the rabbits was shot in the head, while the other was shot in the side.

"We’re surprised," said Animal Control Sgt. Cliff Ballena. "This is not a usual case that we get here in Arlington County."

Although there was one somewhat similar case less than a year ago. Ballena said someone shot a crow with a blow dart last April. That incident took place in a different part of the county.

"Unfortunately that crow did not make it. We were never able to find out who did it," Ballena explained, adding that if authorities do find out who is responsible – either for the crow or the rabbits – they could face animal cruelty charges.


Arlington officials investigating rabbits apparently struck by blow darts

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is seeking information on rabbits that have been found with what appears to be blow darts stuck in their bodies.

People who live near North Barton Street were appalled by pictures of the injured rabbits Wednesday.

"It’s terrifying," said Anna Rodgers. "Why would anybody do that?"

Ballena said the rabbit that had been captured was being cared for, and as of Wednesday evening, was still alive.

On May 1st, the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center posted on Facebook that the dart that was in the cottontail’s leg was removed and the rabbit was successfully treated until the damaged muscle and wound healed fully - and now is heading back into the wild: 

Anyone with any information about the incidents, or anyone who spots an injured rabbit, is asked to please call Animal Control at 703-931-9241.