The Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is searching for a woman suspected of abandoning a rabbit inside the King Kullen supermarket on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays on December 31.
The SPCA released a photo of the woman exiting the store that was taken using the store’s video surveillance cameras. Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk SPCA, said on Tuesday that the woman placed the white domestic rabbit in a bag in a shopping cart in the parking lot, and then covered the bag with her jacket. Once inside the store, Mr. Gross said she left the cart in an aisle and took a different, empty cart.
An employee then found the rabbit in the bag, and brought it to the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons, where veterinarians determined it to be healthy. Mr. Gross said the employee then adopted the rabbit and took it home as a pet.
“There were so many other options that [the woman] could have done rather than doing what she did,” he said. “But at least at this point it has a good ending for the rabbit.”
Mr. Gross said that the SPCA is searching for more information about the woman or the incident so that it may understand her motive. She could face abandonment charges that are punishable by up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
“At this point, it’s too early to say if charges will be brought,” he said.
Animals are frequently abandoned, he added, though usually outside and not in a grocery store.
The organization is asking that anyone who may be able to identify the woman or provide additional information contact the SPCA at 382-7722. All calls will be kept confidential.