RABBITS do make very appealing pets but the Scottish SPCA fears more bunnies than ever are being neglected, mistreated and forgotten about.
This rising concern has prompted Scotland’s animal welfare charity to launch Rabbit Awareness Week, which will run from 16-22 July.
The Scottish SPCA is also keen to encourage existing and would-be owners in Ayrshire to consider taking on a rescue rabbit, with the number of abandoned, unwanted and neglected bunnies coming into its care steadily increasing over the last four years.
Marion Hainey, manager of the charity’s Ayrshire and South West Scotland Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, said, “In 2011 we rescued 42 rabbits.
“This year is proving to be very challenging as well and this worrying trend demonstrates why we need to raise awareness of the hardships many pet rabbit face.
“There are lots of loving rabbit owners who treat their pets like one of the family and give them all the care and attention they need. But sadly this isn’t true in all cases.
“Some rabbits arrive in our care in a terrible state having been denied basic nutrition and veterinary attention, while others are sadly forgotten pets children have grown tired of.
“Thankfully, the severe cruelty cases are in the minority. The biggest issue is rabbits being put in a hutch and left at the bottom of the garden, with many enduring a life of solitude and boredom. “Often the only interaction they have is a brief visit from their owner to bring food and water. Many owners even find this to be a chore and it is these rabbits which tend to be dumped outdoors or handed into one of our rescue centres unwanted.
“While we never encourage taking on a pet on impulse, we do have 5 rabbits at our centre looking for good, permanent homes.
“Anyone thinking of rehoming a rabbit should ensure they have the time, commitment and financial ability to provide a happy and healthy life.
“Rabbits are highly intelligent, sociable and can make fantastic family pets, though we strongly advise parents that they and not their children need to take responsibility for its welfare. Pets are not toys and should never be given on a whim or as a gift.
“We’d be delighted to welcome potential owners along to our rescue centres to meet the rabbit we have waiting for a fresh start in life and loving new homes.”
The Scottish SPCA’s Ayrshire and South West Scotland Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre is open 10am-4pm daily. For more information call 03000
999 999 or visit scottishspca.org/rehoming.
Pee-wee and Perky are two male rabbits who were found straying with their brother and sister. Their siblings have since been rehomed and Pee-wee and Perky would love to find a new family too. Pee-wee and Perky are approximately 10 months old and are getting used to being handled now. They are both really friendly little guys and can either be rehomed together or separately.