The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

July 15, 2013

Capturing rabbit an on-again, off-again venture

MANKATO — Well, it's been quite a week for Gunnar Boettcher and Frankenstein.

Boettcher is the good-natured young man with the Steve Irwin impression who filmed a hideously diseased rabbit in his backyard. Then it blew up and went viral. And young Gunnar wrestled with what to do.

Detractors took him to task for not doing more to save what is essentially a wild animal. Others said he should leave it alone.

He was torn.

"I'm going back and forth," he said. "I've been reading a lot of articles, trying to see what I could do."

Some of the articles said Frankenstein might be traumatized by the act of capturing it, and that trying to "save" him might actually do more harm than good. And the Department of Natural Resources fellow he spoke with advised Gunnar to leave the rabbit be and "let nature take its course."

While he struggled with what to do, his story has gone national. He's got Facebook friend requests from people around the world he's never met, and no shortage of people giving him a piece of their mind on the issue of what should be done about Frankenstein.

"I'm not able to wrap my mind around how big this thing has gotten," he said.

He said he's learned a lot about the power of the media — and the power of a good diseased rabbit story. His story made Yahoo! news, MSN, The Associated Press and others. By Monday afternoon, his video had about 700,000 views on YouTube.

"It's very powerful," he said. "I didn't realize how fast things can move."

Prior to last weekend, the word on the street was that Gunnar was going to attempt to save it. But when The Free Press caught up with him Monday, he was leaning toward leaving the rabbit be.

Then he called us back.

As of Monday afternoon, Gunnar was on a mission to capture Frankenstein in an effort to save it from certain facial tumor death.

Stay tuned.

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