There’s no end to the human capacity to deceive.
Remember the story about the kind young man who, on December 6, stopped to rescue a wild rabbit caught between the raging flames of the terrible Thomas Fire on one side, and a freeway full of cars on the other?
Would you believe a man named Oscar Gonzalez (some news accounts have his name as Gonzales) actually pretended to be the rescuer?
The day after the rescue, on December 7, 2017, Gonzalez’s girl friend contacted NBC4, claiming he was the man captured on video rescuing the rabbit. Gonzalez, from the Pacoima neighborhood in Los Angeles, even did an interview with the station, wearing a red hoodie like what the rescuer was wearing in the video.
Gonzalez said he rescued the rabbit because “I love animals myself. I didn’t want the rabbit to go through the fire.” He said there were two rabbits, one white and one black with white spots. The white rabbit “ran into his arms.” Gonzalez said he dropped it off in a safer area where there were no flames. The rabbit then scurried away.
Wild rabbits are typically brown or grey in color. Only domestic rabbits are white, or black with white spots.
Even after reports surfaced saying Gonzalez was not the man in the video, he and his girl friend still insist he was the one seen in the video.
From an enhanced image of the man in the original video, NBC4 determined that Caleb Wadnan, not Oscar Gonzalez, is the rabbit’s rescuer.
Wadnan told NBC4 that he was driving along the freeway to see the flames when he caught sight of the scared rabbit: “I just ran after it. I had a lot of faith in me at the time-being. So I was just focused on the life at hand rather than the flames around me.”
Wadnan brought the brown rabbit to Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital.
Montanna Harrington, an employee at the veterinary hospital, confirmed Wadnan’s story. Harrington told Huffington Post that a man wearing the same outfit as seen in the viral video brought in an injured wild rabbit. The man said he had rescued the bunny from the Thomas fire on Highway 101— the same location where the viral video was filmed.
Veterinarian Duane Tom said the rabbit was suffering from serious burns, with much of her fur singed off. And for the record, Tom said he disagrees with people who say the rabbit didn’t need help: “She definitely needed medical attention.”
We are happy to report that the rabbit rescued from the fires in that now famous video is showing improvement but isn’t out of the woods yet. She suffered burns to her ears, feet, and tail.
Meet the famous and very lucky rabbit!