Protesters clash with store owner over allegations of animal abuse

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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. -- A controversy is brewing between protesters and the owner of a feed store in Wheat Ridge.

The protesters claim a rabbit was being abused at Walker’s Quality Cage and Feed Store.

The owner is emphatically denying those claims.

Still, she has removed the rabbit from the store and has filed a complaint with the Wheat Ridge Police Department.

“I call it harassment," owner Shirley Walker said. "You are lying lying about me. It’s not even a fib. Well, it's my opinion. No, it’s a lie. She is saying we are abusing rabbits."

Lauren Tran started a campaign to have Zap removed from Walker’s store and led the protest last weekend.

Tran, who owns rabbits, claimed the rabbit was not being cared for properly in its wire cage. At one time, Tran spent time with the rabbit in the store.

“My rabbits run up to my bed and kiss me and I think it is abuse and neglect to keep a rabbit in there overnight all by himself," she said.

But Walker, who has raised rabbits for more than 30 years, said she abides by the American Rabbit Breeders Association recommendations.

Walker said it's her opinion against Tran’s.

“Well, it has hurt (my business) some," Walker said. "I can’t tell you how much. We'll see how busy we are. ... We’ve had one customer since you came."

Even though the rabbit has been removed, Tran is still planning another protest this weekend.

The campaign has baffled other animal-loving customers who said the allegations are not fair.

Walker never thought she’d find herself having to remove a rabbit many customers had come to love so much.

Tran said she is still planning to protest the store until the rabbit is removed from Walker’s care.

Walker has filed a harassment charge against Tran with police. It is not clear if they will be called back to the store this weekend.

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