Rabbits, Rabbits And More Rabbits!
By Phil Snyder, Executive Director Suncoast Humane Society
Guess what species of animal is the fastest growing on the pet-overpopulation charts? Then guess what animal ranks third in those turned into animal shelters, right behind dogs and cats? If you guessed rabbit and rabbit, you guessed correctly.
Why are so many turned into animal shelters? Number one, because most people do not know how to care for them and number two, their children have lost interest. And then there are those who were allowed to accidentally (or carelessly) breed and ended with too many rabbits.
Thirty three rabbits were brought to Suncoast Humane Society during 2017 and the shelter is on course to exceed that figure in 2018. Actually, as strange as it seems, nearly as many rabbits are turned in to the shelter as young puppies.
Animal shelters across the country receive Dutch Rabbits, Lop Eared, Lion Head, Angora and many of the other fifty varieties of domestic rabbits. All are beautiful creatures, but homeless.
And YIKES it isn’t even Easter yet, which is the kiss of death for many domestic rabbits. The large commercial Rabbit Mills, with conditions very similar to the more widely known Puppy Mills are already in full swing preparing to fill local pet stores with live Easter gifts. Over breeding, poor education regarding proper care, and too few homes, initiates the cruelty chain for domestic rabbits. Our nation continues to be a throw-away society for unwanted pets.
Along with their third place rating in popularity at shelters comes the sad fact that they have become the third most euthanized animal. Some shelters in highly populated areas are estimated to be forced to euthanize 80-90% of incoming rabbits, because of overbreeding and too few homes.
Bunnies can make great pets for those that study their needs, and know how to care for them. They definitely should be spay or neutered. They should be handled carefully and with kindness. Your house should be bunny proofed and chew protected.
What can you do to help slow down the growth of the homeless rabbit population?
- Never purchase a rabbit, especially on a whim or for a child
- Adopt from a shelter or rabbit rescue group
- Always spay/neuter preventing unwanted births and to protect the rabbits birth
- Don’t frequent pet stores that sell rabbits
- Never turn a domestic rabbit loose in the wild. They are a completely different creature than their wild relatives.
- Educate others on the suffering of the domestic rabbit
To learn more about proper care of the domestic rabbit and the plight and growing cruelties of these sensitive creatures, google House Rabbit Society. It is time to stop treating the domestic rabbit as a THIRD class citizen.