I am the initial point of contact when someone emails firstname.lastname@example.org. This month, the number of “finder” emails we have received is more than double the number we receive in a typical month. We define a “finder” as someone who has either spotted a stray domestic rabbit or has rescued an abandoned domestic rabbit and is reaching out to our group for resources and recourses. I have typed the following sentences an alarming number of times this month: “We don’t have a shelter facility; all of our rabbits are fostered in private homes. If you or someone you know can provide an indoor foster home, we can…” And it’s not even Easter yet.
We get at least a hundred emails to the aforementioned address per month—only three times in my almost three years of being at the email helm has someone reached out because their rabbit had actually gone missing. So I can safely conclude that these “found” rabbits are abandoned, dumped, neglected.
Abandonment happens one of two ways, from my perspective. There are the scarily misinformed, who think their rabbit, who no longer serves a purpose in their family, will survive in the woods or in a park because other rabbits live in the wild. Yeah… those are wild rabbits. Not domestic rabbits. Domestic rabbits will not survive and will face the harsh elements of the seasons and starvation, and predators. A horrible fate.
Then, there are the heartless, who just don’t care, who need this “thing” out of their house. Sometimes these people try to seek help before abandoning their rabbit, but most town shelters aren’t equipped to handle rabbits and most rescue groups are overloaded, no matter the animal on which they focus. For these, about whom “careless” is the nicest word I can muster, the living being they once chose to care for has passed his/her expiration date and must be tossed out. Just a note—if caught abandoning an animal, one faces $1,000 fine and other legal consequences. If you see something, take pictures. Send them to me. I’ll turn them in for you. I’m not shy.
- Stores and breeders to stop selling rabbits.
- People to make more informed decisions before adding any living being into their families.
- Foster homes, donations and volunteers to save the abandoned animals.
- You to speak up, if you know someone has dumped an animal.
- Compassion for all things living.
As a rescue group, our resources are limited but trust that we use them to their maximum potential! Thank you for being one of our resources. Spread the reality about rabbits as pets—10-12 year commitment, specialized veterinary care, bunny-proofing (As I hear my chief destruction worker bunny Tater Tot tearing in to what I hope is his cardboard tunnel in the next room…). As awareness is heightened, I hope there are far fewer rabbits out there to save. But for now, many rabbits are found but still lost, as the number abandoned far surpasses the number of foster homes and adopters.
Release your feelings, not your animals.