‘My heart dropped’: Florida woman rescues rabbit with dart in face

PARKLAND, Fla. — A Florida woman thought a rabbit in front of her home was eating a yellow flower. To her dismay, the animal had a yellow dart that pierced its face.

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Misty Baniewicz, of Parkland, said she made the disturbing discovery last weekend, WSVN reported.

“We always see the rabbits out at dusk or early in the mornings when it’s nice and cool,” Baniewicz told the television station. “About a week ago, I saw this rabbit out like I normally would, and it had something in its mouth, which appeared yellow, and I thought it was a flower. I’m like, ‘Aw, how cute! It’s got a cute little flower in its mouth.’”

It was a metal dart.

“It’s going in one side of its face and out the other side of its face,” Baniewicz told WSVN. “Brutal. Brutal, brutal, brutal.”

Baniewicz took a picture of the animal.

“My heart dropped,” Baniewicz told WFOR.

With the help of neighbors Mariana Symecko and James Symecko, Baniewicz was able to capture the male rabbit and take it the South Florida Wildlife Center in nearby Fort Lauderdale, the television station reported.

The rabbit, nicknamed “Marsh,” was given pain medication, fluids and antibiotics, Cristel Fiddynet of the care center told WSVN.

“When he came in, he was a little quiet, a little stunned,” Fiddynet told the television station. “I mean, remember, he ended up being chased and trapped, and thankfully the dart was easily removed.”

Marsh is not the first rabbit in the area to be injured by darts. Another rabbit died after a metal dart pierced one of its legs, WSVN reported.

“It’s very disheartening for people to do this,” Fiddynet added. “I don’t know if they’re bored or just doing it for sport, I do believe that people just truly sometimes need to be truly educated on what not to do and what is OK.”

The rabbit suffered no bone or structural damage and will be set free soon, Baniewicz wrote in a Facebook post.

“Marsh will be released next Monday when I’m back in town, released to his home as my neighbor,” Baniewicz wrote. “He is my neighbor and I’m so happy he gets to continue being so.”