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Dedham bunny sculpture will stay put for now despite military veterans' objections

Posted by Natalie Feulner  June 18, 2012 10:31 PM

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Michael Cassidy, vice chairman of the Massachusetts American Legion Chapter speaks at a meeting Monday in Dedham.

The 5-foot bunny in Dedham will stay for now.

Following a public discussion Monday night, a bunny sculpture, whose location irked some veterans, will stay in the Oakdale Common until the Parks and Recreation Committee decides otherwise.

The controversy came to light last week after the rabbit was placed in the park and put two groups in town -- the Dedham Public Art Project and the Combined Veterans Council -- at odds over its appropriateness.

At least 75 veterans and residents filled the lower conference room at Town Hall Monday night, many wanting to share opinions either in favor or against the rabbit’s placement. However, the committee limited discussion to a few key people it felt represented both sides of the issue, including the artist and a few veterans.

Last week, several local veterans asked the committee to retract its decision that approved the placement of the rabbit and asked that it be removed immediately. However, after several private meetings, that tone seemed to have changed slightly.

Monday night those against the sculpture asked the committee to consider what they call an “agreement” which would require the rabbit’s removal by Sept. 11 and an apology given for what they believe was a lack of communication with the Combined Veterans Council.

"There is a compromise out there," Norfolk County Commissioner and veteran Francis O'Brien said. "This is the compromise - that bunny goes by September."

The Dedham Art Project had already planned to have many, if not all, auctioned off this fall to raise money for local nonprofits, but had not said for sure if it would be done by September.

A final decision from the committee is expected soon and in the meantime members plan on hammering out a procedure for future uses of the common and other public spaces.

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The rabbit in Dedham's Oakdale Common. Courtesy of the Oakdale Square Alliance

Natalie Feulner can be reached at natalie.feulner@gmail.com.

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