February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month!!

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February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month!!

PAWS TO PONDER by Suzyn Barron, President of Warwick Valley Humane Society


Did you know, people still use outside rabbit hutches despite the dangers associated with them?  And some even continue to use them after their rabbit has been abducted by predators by going out and buying or adopting another bunny!

Rabbits are inherently preyed upon animals so why would anyone leave them so exposed even in a so called “secure” hutch?  Hutches have wire flooring to allow the poop pellets to drop through although if you have ever cleaned a hutch, you know that that the poop piles up in corners too.  However, “easy” they are to keep clean, they are very uncomfortable and unsafe for rabbits’ little paws.  Can you imagine standing on wire in your bare feet all day and night?  And what about isolation and boredom you are subjecting your rabbit to?  If you are still using an outside hutch, then your rabbit is not really a pet because by definition “a pet is a domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship”.

Rabbits can be wonderful companions, but they are not for everyone.  They are a 10+-year commitment requiring special care and accommodations.  Store bought pellets are a small part of their diet. They require timothy hay around the clock and fresh produce daily.  And they love to play.  Just check out the multitude of toys and supplements available.  They are inquisitive creatures with distinct and different personalities who need space to explore and hop around. And they need veterinary care which is a specialized field, especially for spaying and neutering which prevents health problems including breeding.

While rabbits enjoy being pet, most of them prefer to remain on the ground. As prey animals, rabbits instinctually feel frightened when picked up. And stressed-out rabbits can develop related illnesses.  Young children may find it difficult to interact with a rabbit and subsequently lose interest.  Thus, shelters and rescues are filled to the brim with no longer wanted or abandoned bunnies.  When their breeder retired, Nivens and Cotton Eye Joe, both 9 years old and blind, were surrendered to us infested with mites!   Johnny Tsunami, named for a surfer being a Californian rabbit, was left in a cage at our front door.   Andre was given up when his owner could no longer care for him in his outside hutch.  Sporty & Posh were rescued from a hoarding situation. And Wilbur was found trying to survive on his own.

There is no excuse today to not be informed as there is a wealth of information available about rabbits as pets.  As of December 2024, pet stores will no longer be able to sell rabbits, cats and dogs which we hope will reduce the puppy, kitten and bunny mill industry.   If you are a lover of these long-eared herbivore mammals known as Leporidae then consider adopting because February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month!   “I wish people realized just how loving and loyal bunnies can be if only given the chance!” – Florence Nightingale



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