Residents in East Pasadena had a scare last week when one of their neighbors disappeared from her home.
The resident, who has long been a staple in the community, was not a victim of kidnap or untimely death, but instead was forced to leave after someone turned her in to Animal Control.
Bun Bun, the white rabbit, had lived beneath a tree on the grass beside the street at the corner of Mohawk Street and Altadena Drive for six years, roaming around the neighborhood and feeding on treats from local residents. But on March 4 someone reported the rabbit to the Pasadena Humane Society, leaving residents upset and concerned.
"When you come around the corner you look for her," said resident Sindie Dear, 26. "You expect her to be there. ... I'm sad. "
Joe Marner, a Sierra Madre resident who would feed Bun Bun after his workouts at nearby Gold's Gym, said the entire neighborhood was in an uproar after learning that Bun Bun was gone.
"One lady called me hysterical the day Bun Bun got picked up by the Humane Society and said Jon you have to go over there and she how she is doing," Marner said.
Marner fell in love with Bun Bun two years ago when he first saw her hiding beneath a car near the gym. Since then, he said he has brought her oats from Trader Joe's, put up a laminated sign next to her makeshift home telling visitors she was not a stray and made weekend visits with his
"When she saw me coming she would come running at me," Marner said.
And, he said, he was not the only one caring for the rabbit.
"There were so many people on that street that grew fond of her," Marner said. "It was kind of a group effort. "
Jay Mathews, a Washington Post columnist who has lived in the neighborhood for a year with his wife and fellow journalist Linda Mathews, said in all his travels he has never seen anything like it.
"We're in our late 60s, we are both journalists, we've traveled around the world and to just about every state, and I've never come across a situation in which an animal is living on its own on the street and being supported by the neighbors," Mathews said. "It was charming. In a city like Pasadena I thought it was remarkable. "
So when the beloved community pet disappeared one day after a tip landed her in the Pasadena Humane Society, neighbors were naturally upset.
"There is a multitude of people on the block ... that you have hurt tremendously," reads a note posted near Bun Bun's old home addressed to "the person that felt compelled to call animal control. "
Marner said he rushed down to the Humane Society and put his name on the list to adopt Bun Bun, and after a mandatory waiting period, was able to bring her home last Friday. In a "Bun Bun Update" Marner posted on the block, Marner left an email address where residents can check on the rabbit and said he eventually hopes to send Bun Bun to a permanent home in his parents' large backyard in Altadena.
Steve McNall of the Pasadena Humane Society said he suspects Bun Bun may have been abandoned by her original owners, which he said can often happen around this time of year when people buy rabbits and chicks as Easter gifts and get tired of them later.
He said he's surprised that Bun Bun was able to survive so long living on the street, and that a domesticated rabbit like her is probably better off in a stable home.
"It's probably for the safety and the well being of the rabbit. I'm surprised she lived that long to be honest," McNall said. "Bun Bun is having more fun fun now. "
And though she may no longer be waiting faithfully on the corner, Marner said she'll always be the glue that brought the neighborhood together.
"It was really a coming together of people," Marner said. "People I would never cross paths with or get to meet normally, and here everybody was meeting everybody and getting along, at least on this one subject of the rabbit. "