Buggs, the friendly bunny owned by San Luis Obispo man Jim Bonzi, is known for greeting golfers at the 5th hole fairway at San Luis Obispo Country Club. Many of them stop and have their pictures taken with the bundle of white-and-gray fur.
But on Wednesday, Bonzi says, a man in a golf cart scooped up the French lop-eared rabbit, perhaps mistakenly thinking it was lost. Now Bonzi is trying to spread the word so he can get Buggs back.
Bonzi’s home backs up to the golf course, and he lets Buggs have the run of the backyard. Part of Buggs’ routine is to scamper through the garden each morning, then head out to sit under a tree on the 5th hole fairway.
“That bunny is part of my family,” said a saddened Bonzi on Friday. “He gets to roam free. That is part of my mistake. But, he is home every day and never goes away.
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“My only fear was someone would pick him up, and someone finally did.”
Bonzi has had Buggs for six months. A neighbor had found the 10-month-old animal, and he brought Buggs over to Bonzi, who recalled hearing about someone losing a bunny in a nearby neighborhood. Bonzi posted signs about having the rabbit, and a woman called him.
“I got a call from the mother of a 4-H child. It had been their project,” Bonzi recalled. “She asked, ‘Do you know anybody who wants a bunny?’ I said I kind of liked this bunny.”
Buggs bit Bonzi once, but his owner said he was at fault.
“I reached in the wrong way to get him, and he felt threatened,” said Bonzi, 70, who formerly owned and operated a sporting goods store in Paso Robles and also is a retired teacher.
A neighbor who was home watching television Wednesday caught a glimpse of a man in a golf cart stop along the fairway, pick up something white, and head off. That was 3 p.m. When Buggs did not make it home that night, Bonzi notified neighbors.
Unfortunately, the neighbor did not get a good look at the man in the golf cart.
Bonzi just wants Buggs back, and he is willing to pay a $50 reward.
“He will just follow you wherever you go,” Bonzi said. “When I work in the garden, he’s right there. If I dig a hole, he will stand in it. He is so curious. He is more like a dog than a rabbit. He’s a gas.”