Why People Need New Homes for Their Rabbits
by Nancy J. LaRoche
Copyright 2011 - All Rights Reserved
(May be copied for free distribution)
Why People Need New Homes for Their Rabbits
If you need to find a home for your rabbit for any of the following reasons:
- serious health problems making care impossible
- serious financial problems, making care (either basic care or medical care) impossible
- the rabbit’s people have died or are in hospice
- you rescued a rabbit, but can’t keep him or her
then please contact us, and we will try to help. firstname.lastname@example.org
On the other hand, if:
- you’re too busy to care for a rabbit
- you’ve had a baby and are temporarily overwhelmed
- you’re getting married to someone with a dog that is incompatible with your rabbit
- you’re going away for a few weeks
- someone in the family has developed allergies, and you aren’t willing to do everything that is necessary to make it possible to keep your rabbit (especially, if your only reason is that your allergist said to get rid of your animals without verifying that they are causing the allergies)
- you’re planning to go overseas where you can’t take your rabbit
- or anything that is a choice of your own making
please do not waste our time, asking us to take your rabbit—we can’t! We want to, for the sake of the rabbit, but we simply can’t care for all of the rabbits people want us to take. We have only a limited amount of space, a limited amount of money, and a limited number of volunteers to care for them.
It is your responsibility to make time for any animal you’ve taken into your home, to provide for separate space for incompatible animals, to find a pet sitter for temporary situations, to get rid of some of the activities making you too busy, etc. If you aren’t willing to do these things, we aren’t willing to have your responsibility dumped on us.
Don’t dump your rabbit outside. Not only is it cruel, but it’s illegal and a punishable offense.
But if you have a situation that is listed in the first set of bullet items above, or is similar to them, please email us at email@example.com. (Note: if you give a reason listed, or similar to, the second set of bullet items above, we won’t respond to your email.)
If you purchased a rabbit who turned out to be pregnant, or if you got two rabbits you'd been told were the same sex, only to discover a litter of babies a month after bringing them home, there are two or three things you should do. (By the way, if you discover the rabbits have produced a litter of babies, they will probably have a second litter on the way, since rabbits mate immediately following the birth of a litter.)
File a simple report with the state veterinarian responsible for “PACFA.” The purpose of this report isn’t to bring legal action against the seller, but to help the state veterinarian develop an understanding of the extent of the problem. This is essential if the state is to take any action to prevent these kinds of problems in the future.
A report can be filed by sending a FAX to 303-239-4164 or calling 303-239-4166 to give a verbal report or request an address to which you can mail a report.
In this report, you should indicate:
- • the name and address of the place where you got the rabbits
- • exactly what the resultant problems were
Take the mother or parents and the babies back to where you got the parents (or take the babies after they have been weaned at six weeks). This will help the sellers understand how they are creating problems for people such as yourself, and you will be putting the responsibility for the babies where it belongs - on them.
Unfortunately, they are likely to sell the babies for snake food, and most people can’t bear to risk this. (Please note: Even if you choose to keep the babies, please report the problem as explained in item number 1. above, for the sake of rabbits in the future.)
If you decide to sell the rabbit(s) on Craigslist, you should also be aware that free rabbits listed on Craigslist often become food - small rabbits for snakes, large rabbits for humans! Be sure to require people to pay at LEAST $15 for each rabbitto make it financially inappropriate to purchase the rabbit for such purposes.
You might also consider taking the pet store or breeder to small claims court, to attempt to make them pay for the spays and neuters and the costs to find homes for the babies.
Approximately twenty-five people a day want us to take their rabbits simply because, frankly, they don’t want to be responsible for their own actions. Their reasons include:
- discovering allergies to hay or to rabbits, which they didn’t check out before getting the rabbits
- moving but not wanting to take the rabbits along
- not wanting to maintain time for the rabbits
- getting caught with animals in a no-pets rental home
- having gotten them for children who have lost interest
If your reasons include any of these, you should never have gotten rabbits in the first place (unless something beyond your control happened, in which case, please let us know your circumstances, and we will see if we can help).
Otherwise, we ask you to learn from this experience and never get an animal again unless you can be committed to that animal for his or her life. It is selfish and cruel to get animals if:
- you have not first determined no one in your home is allergic to them
- you are willing to move without taking them with you, or if your job is one which is likely to take you overseas where you can’t take them
- you are not willing to maintain time for them
- you get them when you live in a no-pets rental home
- you think of them as “toys” you can discard when children lose interest, instead of teaching your children responsibility by being responsible yourself, providing care and affection for the rabbits as long as they live
If you deliberately or carelessly bred rabbits and have too many, they are your responsibility, not ours. You need to get them all spayed and neutered and find homes for them. We can direct you to low-cost spay and neuter clinics and tell you how to find homes for them, but you must take responsibility for allowing them to breed in the first place.
Other reasons people need to find homes for their rabbits are:
- boredom with caring for hutch rabbits, but getting nothing in return
- frustration over behavior, which may include poor litter-training, biting, etc.
A hutch rabbit is likely to be nothing but a chore, and of course, people are likely to regret having gotten such a rabbit. The responsible thing to do is to realize an animal is a living, feeling creature - not an inanimate object.
Even if you made a mistake getting the animal, it is your responsibility to see it through - just as it is the responsibility of people who have a child to see it through, even if it was a mistake. We can explain how to bring a hutch rabbit inside where s/he can be a wonderful companion. We can also tell you how to litter-train and correct unwanted behaviors.
Of course, you have to be willing to spend 20 minutes a day working with the rabbit. If you aren’t willing to work at solving problems, just as you would have to do if the animal were a child, you should never bring an animal into your home - and you shouldn’t expect someone else to take on the responsibility you chose when you got the animal.
The Colorado House Rabbit Society can explain how to bring a hutch rabbit inside where s/he can be a wonderful companion. We can also tell you how to litter-train and correct unwanted behaviors. If you want help solving behavior problems, contact one of our Licensed HRS Educators found on our Who To Call Page of our website and explain the issues.
Where to Take Your Rabbit
Given that approximately 25 people want us to take their rabbits every day, it should be obvious why we can’t take all of them.
Most of the time our facilities, like those of most of the shelters throughout the Denver-Boulder metro area, Greeley, Longmont, etc., are full. Most rabbits taken to shelters are killed for lack of space.
If you are determined to “get rid of” your rabbits, the following are your choices:
- The best thing you can do is to take your rabbits back to where you got them, especially if you got them from a pet shop or breeder. Stores and breeders who sell animals without helping people think through the issues which may confront them (allergies, getting too busy, etc.) are exploiting the animals and taking advantage of people who buy them.
No matter how long it has been since you got the rabbits, take them back. By doing so, you will help these people understand how they are contributing to the problem faced by people such as yourself, and you will be putting the responsibility back on them where it belongs.
- You may take them to one of the animal shelters where there is a high probability they will be killed.
- You may do what we would have to do to find them a home: spay and neuter them; litter-train them, and socialize them.
Then you could run a classified ad in the newspaper, or advertise them on Craig’s List. If you do this, ask for a reasonable amount of money for them and use our “Application to Adopt” and our
“Adoption Contract” to determine into what kind of home the rabbits are going. Many people will gladly take free or cheap rabbits to make stew, feed to snakes, or allow dogs to tear apart, so you need to interview anyone interested in them, and even do a home visit before you allow them to go.
- Describe the rabbits in the most glowing (but truthful) terms possible - litter-trained, friendly, cute, etc.
- Above all, do NOT release a rabbit outside. This is probably the cruelest solution of all, and it is illegal. Domestic rabbits which are dumped in this way usually die horrific deaths. They are not native to America and are NOT able to survive on their own.
Finally, if you chose to breed rabbits, or carelessly allowed them to breed, the resulting bunnies are your responsibility, and the preceding paragraphs apply to your situation. Even if your excuse is you didn’t know how fast it could happen, or that such young rabbits could breed, or the kids put them together, or that you thought you could make some money by selling them, the offspring are your responsibility. Responsibility for animals includes understanding how they breed and preventing it. It also means not exploiting them for profit.