Summer brings glut ofunwanted, discardedrabbits
4 August 2010 – Associated Press (US)CALIFORNIA. — Easter bunnies grow up and the noveltywears off. Come summer, people often just dump thebunnies.That's why the number of rabbits in animal shelters acrossthe country swells every summer."We are in crisis" said Caroline Charland, founder of TheBunny Bunch, which has 350 rabbits who need homes.Charland tries to keep the group's rabbit count around 300,but that isn't always possible, especially in the summer. Killshelters throughout Southern California will call her andsay: "We are euthanizing today. Can you take any rabbits?"Domestic rabbits who make it to shelters and to people likeCharland are the lucky ones, said Betsy Saul, co-founder ofPetfinder.com, an online pet adoption database."People take rabbits out and figure they will survive on theirown," and that's usually a deadly decision for the animals,Saul said."Rabbits can die of heart attacks from the very approach ofa predator," said Mary E. Cotter in New York. She is withthe House Rabbit Society, an international nonprofitorganization that rescues rabbits from animal shelters.The Associated Press, the American Veterinary MedicalAssociation and the American Pet Products Associationestimate rabbits are the pets of choice in about 2 percent ofAmerican households — the same as horses. But inshelters, the animals come in third behind dogs and cats,said Ana Bustilloz, a spokeswoman for SPCA in LosAngeles.Rabbits make good pets because they can easily betrained to use a litter box, come when you call them andwill play tag, Cotter said. They are inquisitive, intelligent,sociable and affectionate.But, she warned, rabbits aren't for everyone.They live seven to 10 or more years, generally they are notgood around small children, they must live indoors andrequire daily feeding, grooming, exercise, together time andcleanup.Rabbits have long been used in research. "Think aboutwhat's necessary from a research animal. They are loving,kind, trusting, incredibly domesticatable, trainable. The verythings that damn them to be such good subjects makethem great pets," Saul said in a telephone interview.The ASPCA estimates it costs $730 a year to care for arabbit. The first year, it will be about $1,055 because of$325 in capital costs (cage, litter box, spay and neutering).A new owner will have to do some rabbit-proofing in areaswhere the animals will roam, Saul said. Rabbits need tochew their entire life — it's not a phase they will outgrow,so cable guards and furniture leg guards will have to beinstalled.Rabbits seem to flourish in mature adult homes, Saul said,because they prefer quiet, bookish pursuits torambunctious play in rowdy homes.At The Burrow, the rabbits seem to know it's safe and oftengreet visitors. One of the friendliest is Nutmeg, a cinnamoncolored red Rex with velvet feeling fur who will stick hernose through the cage to be petted.She was found alongside a road with a broken leg.Education is a big part of what The Bunny Bunch does."We talk as many people out of getting a rabbit as we adoptto," Charland said.People who get rabbits as gifts or from a store will keep therabbits outside, where they can quickly die in heat, or in asmall cage, where they can become aggressive in aconfined space, developing what is called "cage rage" asthey protect their small area, she said.Shelters, rescues and animal experts all have one majorpiece of advice when it comes to rabbits: Give as manyEaster bunnies for gifts as you want next year — but makethem all chocolate.
Name: Squiggle & Mr BunContact person:
Readers might remember these two separate buns in thelast newsletter. Squiggle needed to move quickly so shefound a new home with Mr Bun and has bonded very wellwith him. Both buns are now looking for a home together.Mr Bun (dark bun in front) is ahandsome fellow who was foundas a stray in Dandenong. Hewaited at the pound for 8 days butnobody came to collect him. MrBun is around one year of ageand is desexed & vaccinated.Squiggle is a 3 year old desexedfemale bun.If you would like to know more about this lovely couple,please contact Ruth at firstname.lastname@example.org