At first glance, a rabbit might seem to be the quintessential beginner’s pet. Bunnies don’t require daily walks or obedience training. Besides being adorable, they appear to be absolutely harmless. What’s more, a rabbit can be purchased for a small sum, priming purchasers to believe that the costs of care are correspondingly minimal. Possibly as a result of these misconceptions and more – millions of rabbits are commercially bred for the pet industry in the U.S. only to be neglected, abandoned outdoors, or surrendered to shelters by their owners once the realities of rabbit ownership set in. What’s more, rabbits live for a long time – up to ten years. When not spayed or neutered, rabbits are known to reproduce at an astonishing rate. Considering all these facts, it’s no surprise that overpopulation of domestic rabbits is a major problem. In honor of Adopt-A-Rescued-Rabbit Month, NHES encourages you to take action to be part of the solution to help unwanted rabbits:
Before bringing home a rabbit, know whether a rabbit right for you. Rabbits can be excellent pets – for the right household. Before bringing home a rabbit, research rabbit care requirements and what you can realistically expect from rabbit ownership. It is vital that your rabbit live indoors, receive regular veterinary care, and have a habitat that is cleaned at least three times per week. Do not bring home a rabbit until you are certain that you are fully willing and able to care for a rabbit properly for the duration of the animal’s life.
Adopt your rabbit from an animal shelter or reputable nonprofit rescue. Because of the enormous number of rabbits in need of homes, rabbits, like dogs and cats, should be adopted rather than purchased. Many animal shelters and private rescues across America have rabbits available for adoption. You can also visit http://www.petfinder.com to view adoptable rabbits in your zip code.
If you cannot adopt, consider volunteering for a rabbit rescue. Even if you can’t adopt, you can still enjoy the company of rabbits while helping them live better lives. Many nonprofit rabbit rescues host rabbit adoption events to offer their adoptable rabbits a chance to meet qualified adopters. Contact a rescue in your area to learn about becoming a volunteer adoption counselor. Furthermore, many rabbit rescues rely heavily on donations to care for rabbits in either a shelter or foster environment. Make a bunny’s day by donating rabbit supplies to a rabbit rescue organization!
Support legislation that protects rabbits. Many cities around the country have passed local ordinances banning the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits. Both Petco and Petsmart have voluntarily stopped selling rabbits at their retail locations due to ethical concerns. Visit the NHES Take Action page to learn about how you can support laws that protect the welfare of rabbits and other animals.
To locate nonprofit rabbit rescues and adoptable bunnies near you, visit www.petfinder.com.
February 9, 2016