Jenny Nichols has started a rabbit rescue at her Lamoine, Maine home. She takes in unwanted and neglected rabbits from the area, working with the local SPCA. She cares for the rabbits until they are adopted into their new forever homes.
A few years ago, Nichols wouldn’t have imagined she’d be running a rabbit rescue. She never identified as being an “animal person” and wasn’t particularly drawn to rabbits. But when her daughter begged her for a pet rabbit, she conceded… only to realize that once the excitement wore off, the rabbit was now her pet. She researched how to properly care for rabbits, and over the years, developed a deep respect and love for them. She wanted to do something to help abused and abandoned rabbits, and so Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Rescue began.
Rabbits come to her for a few different reasons, including impulse-buy Easter gifts for children that are no longer new and exciting a month later or from breeders who’d like to cull them for physical deformities.
Every year, International Rabbit Day is held on the fourth Saturday or Sunday of September. This year, that weekend falls on September 22-23.
International Rabbit Day is a day to consider the welfare of all rabbits — to promote the proper care of pet bunnies so they can live happy and healthy lives. We’d also like to call attention to the joy and enrichment that well-cared-for rabbits can bring to the lives of their human companions.
Below are a few articles from My House Rabbit that fit the spirit of the day:
A rabbit evacuee welcomed by the Houston SPCA on Monday.
The Houston SPCA held an adoption event over the Labor Day weekend which allowed 264 pets to find new adoptive homes. This freed up space at their shelter to take in pets from shelters in Mississippi and Louisiana who have been hit by Hurricane Isaac.
In the latest group of evacuees welcomed by the Houston SPCA, 12 are rabbits. If you live in the Houston area and are looking to adopt a bunny, you can see their available rabbits on Petfinder. If you’re not looking to adopt or don’t live in the area, you can support the bunnies at the Houston SPCA by donating at their website.
The Cottage Grove Riding Club in Oregon hosts an annual event called the Animal Scramble in which 75 rabbits (specifically bred for this event) are placed in the center of the arena, and a crowd of children chase them. If a child catches one, he/she brings the rabbit home as a pet.
There are several troubling aspects to this event:
The rabbits are placed in a terrifying and dangerous situation during the scramble.
The children (and their parents) who bring the rabbits home are not prepared for the commitment, nor have they been educated on proper rabbit care.
Rabbits are being bred despite a huge overpopulation of pet rabbits in shelters (NOT that we think those rabbits should be used in this event either).
It sends the message that live animals are simply objects of entertainment or toys; that animal welfare is not important.
Here is a video of the event created by Red Barn Rabbit Rescue who urged Cottage Grove Riding Club to discontinue the event but has so far been ignored by the organization. Warning: There is footage of rabbits being kicked and thrown in the video. Don’t watch it if you will be too upset by the imagery. Scroll below the video for contact information for the Cottage Grove Riding Club if you’d like to write letters urging them to discontinue all future Animal Scrambles.
Cottage Grove Riding Club can be reached at:
Cottage Grove Riding Club
Attn: Eugene LaRoe
PO Box 485
Cottage Grove OR 97424
What is the mainstay of a rabbit’s diet? Carrots? Nope! Rabbit pellets? Wrong! The right answer is hay. The RSPCA is spreading the word with a new campaign called Hay Fever!, which educates the public on the right foods to give to their pet rabbits.
According to the RSPCA:
In fact hay and grass are the key components [of a bunny's diet], and a new study commissioned by the RSPCA shows a lack of hay and grass in rabbits’ diets is one of the most important welfare issues affecting them today. Indeed, in a recent poll only 8% of rabbit owners knew hay and grass are the most important parts of a rabbit’s diet.
It is vital that rabbits are given a hay-based diet to provide fiber for good digestive health and roughage for good dental health. A hay-based diet helps prevent potentially deadly conditions such as GI stasis, in which the digestive system comes to a halt, or poopy butt, which can lead to fly strike.
For more information about the Hay Fever! campaign, see the RSPCA website.
You can also read about the importance of a hay-based diet in our articles:
Pilots N Paws Canada, an organization that brings together volunteer pilots and animal rescues, launched its maiden voyage on June 11. The passengers? Special needs bunnies from Small Animal Rescue in Vancouver who needed transportation to their forever homes on Vancouver Island.
The flight was a success!
From the volunteers at Small Animal Rescue:
The **Bunnies have landed**A big thank you to Chris, PNP and Gini for making this possible.
We had been trying for quite awhile trying to find a way for these guys to get to their forever homes as they have special needs….so the least amount of time spent in transport, the better for them.
Tiny, one of the special bunnies who made it to his forever home thanks to Pilots N Paws.
Today’s theme for Rabbit Adoptathon week will be about litter training. We get a lot of emails from people who are frustrated by stubborn, “outside-the-box” bunnies. Here are our best tips:
Rabbits tend to poop while they eat hay. So it is always a good idea to place ample amounts of hay either in the litterbox or in a hayfeeder right next to the litterbox (so the bunny is forced to sit in the litterbox if he wants to munch on hay).
Mop up urine with a paper towel and pick up stray poop and place both in the litterbox. This helps get the message across that the litterbox is the place that they should do their business.
Be patient and persistent. Litter training takes time, especially if your rabbit has learned bad habits. It takes a while to retrain them. If you can see they’re about to go to the bathroom outside their litterbox (they may lift their tail or sometimes they sort of shimmy down in a seated position right before they go), try to pick them up and put them in the litterbox or corral them in. This is oftentimes easier said than done of course.
Limit their space. If your bunny is free reign, you may want to limit their space initially using a puppy pen until your rabbit is consistently practicing good litterbox habits. Then, very gradually increase the space, ensure those good habits remain intact. Eventually, you will be able to take away the puppy pen completely.
If your bunny is insistent on going in one corner of the room, sometimes it’s easier to give in to their stubbornness, and place a litterbox in that corner. Sometimes when rabbits consistently choose another place to go, they are trying to tell you that that’s where they want to go.
If your rabbit is pooping/spraying pee everywhere, this is probably due to your rabbit marking his territory. It’s a good idea to get your rabbit spayed/neutered in order to ease territorial feelings.
Sometimes rabbits deliberately pee on your couch or bed because they’re showing you who’s Top Bunny in the house. You should correct their misconception immediately. See our blog post, “Being Top Bunny” and the House Rabbit Society’s article, “FAQ: Training” for more information.
To promote rabbit care and adoption, AfFURmation and Bunny’s Blog are co-hosting a Rabbit Adoptathon Hop starting Sunday, May 13th at 6pm ET and ending at 6pm ET on Saturday May 19th.
Here’s what you do to get involved in spreading awareness:
If you have a blog, create a post anytime during this week about rabbit care or share information about adoptable bunnies. Add in the Rabbit Adoptathon badge (code below) so others can do the same on their blogs.
If you’re on Facebook, you can share an adoptable bunny’s information by using the Facebook Share button located on each animal’s profile page on Petfinder.com.
(Copy the code above and paste it into your blog if you want to get involved.)
One former Canmore bunny recovers from spay/neuter surgery at Edmonton’s Southside Animal Hospital.
Last year, the Canadian town of Canmore, located about 60 miles west of Calgary, had a big problem. Abandoned pet rabbits had bred with each other and caused a feral rabbit explosion. Town officials initially planned to cull the rabbits, but a public campaign and the Earth Animal Rescue Society (EARS) made it possible to sterilize them and relocate them to sanctuaries.
From January until April, the town of Canmore trapped and sterilized hundreds of feral rabbits. These rabbits are now happily living in local sanctuaries.
EARS plans to break from the trapping for the summer and resume in October to catch the remaining rabbits.
The folks at Mint.com and Humane Society Silicon Valley put together a helpful infographic outlining the lifetime costs of pets. It’s so important when you decided to adopt a pet rabbit or bonded pair into your family, that you are willing and able to shoulder the costs.