Rabbit joins police station in California as its ‘wellness officer’

Percy, or Officer Hops, is not your average rabbit.

He was given the title of Yuba City Police Department’s wellness officer on April 6, as part of the station’s efforts to step up mental wellness efforts.

In a video by the BBC posted on April 7, employees of the police department in California were seen holding the rescued rabbit in their arms and patting him affectionately.

Officer Ashley Carson told the British broadcasting station that she had found Percy, who appeared lost, in October 2022 while on patrol: “I started to call him and said, ‘Here bun bun’ and he came running to me. He stood on his hind legs and I picked him up.”

The rabbit was taken to animal control but was not claimed by his family.

The police department adopted him a few weeks later and what began as a joke of making Percy the station’s wellness officer became reality. Now, he even wears his own navy work vest.

Lieutenant Michelle Brazil who works in the department’s K9 unit, said: “Being able to hold him, pet him and step back from the situation for a minute to regroup is vital.

“We’re seeing the long-term benefits of it already, even in just a short amount of time.”

Percy, who roams around the office freely, has his own pen equipped with toys, a toy tunnel and a litter box.

He is not the first furry friend to be adopted by a police department.

In Australia, a stray cat named Splashe made Bourke Police Station in New South Wales his new home in 2017 after he was found cold and hungry outside the station.

He was named the station cat, complete with a police collar.

The Central North Police District said in a Facebook post in 2017: “Splashe enjoys lots of cuddles, chasing mice, walking around the station and assisting officers with their paperwork.”

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