07/10/2011 10:30 EDT | Updated 09/09/2011 05:12 EDT

20 Rabbits Crushed By B.C. Sanctuary Intruder

Flickr: Consuela76

CBC -- The owner of a Vancouver Island animal refuge has beefed up security following the brutal slaughter of 20 rabbits last month.

Susan Vickery said she was greeted by a gruesome sight on June 15, as she arrived at her rabbit refuge in the village of Coombs near Nanaimo.

"As I crossed the sanctuary, I saw one of my rabbits laying dead, crushed outside the sanctuary gates," she told CBC News.

Vickery said she found more dead rabbits in six of her property's seven outbuildings.

"Somebody had crushed the young rabbits under their boots, and they had collapsed the cage the goose was in with two younger rabbits," she said.

"I can't even approach the motivation for that kind of act. It's frightening. It's monstrous."

Unlike the rabbits, the goose survived.

Vickery said she believed the violence was the work of one person, as his or her path was made obvious by the four bent fences he or she climbed over to gain access to the animals.

The rabbits had lived unusual lives compared to most pets as they were either abandoned on the grounds of the University of Victoria or born on the campus.

After the university announced plans to trap and euthanize the bunnies, a plan was hatched to send them to sanctuaries instead. More than 600 rabbits ended up in Coombs.

Vickery said she didn't go public with the killings earlier because she wanted time to put new security measures in place at the EARS Sanctuary.

Vickery has since installed an alarm system and infrared-capable security cameras and found someone to live just metres from the pen.

Last year, several rabbits were shot after escaping onto nearby private property.