IVINS, Washington County (AP) — They appeared in the desert as if part of a cuddly, pad-footed mirage.

Nobody's quite sure where they came from, but sometime Sunday, 17 lop-eared Angora rabbits — a species not indigenous to the area — wandered onto U.S. 91.

Local officers took action to save the furry critters from a four-wheeled fate and rounded them up. Then they asked the Ivins animal shelter for help.

Robin Kirker, one of the workers who took the animals in, said they appeared to be domesticated but not well cared for.

"They're just a mess," she said. "They have been neglected."

She said their rabbits' fur was matted with dirt and feces, and many had injuries to their ears.

Since the shelter didn't have the resources to house 17 rabbits for long, Kirker started making calls.

By Tuesday, three rabbits had been adopted and four were in foster care. Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab took the remaining 10 rabbits.