Rabbit Crisis in Southern California
by Caroline Charland
President & Founder of The Bunny Bunch
A few years ago, rabbits became the third most popular house pet. Fortunately, more people know that rabbits should live in the house and not outside in a hutch.
There is easily accessible, valuable information about proper rabbit care available on the Internet, as well as at rescue events and veterinary offices. Therefore, many more rabbits have been provided with a safe, indoor environment, the right diet, and a litter box. They are spayed or neutered as well as taken to an exotic vet who is rabbit knowledgeable.
Unfortunately, more and more rabbits are being turned into city and county shelters, dumped in the streets, schools, and parks. Now they have become the third most dumped animal.
We receive numerous calls and emails daily from people who have found a rabbit, who no longer want their rabbit, as well as requests from city and county shelters asking us to take rabbits so they don’t have to kill them. The shelters are always overloaded with rabbits no one wants anymore.
The most common reasons people decide to give up their rabbits are that they are moving, or that the child they got the rabbit for has lost interest and doesn’t take care of it anymore, or has moved out.
There is never a good reason to give up a rabbit. Rabbits move fine from city to city, even across the county. People have even moved over seas with their rabbits. Parents need to be responsible and take over the care when the child moves out.
Getting a rabbit or any pet for a child is a huge mistake in the first place. When your child loses interest who will take care of the animal? When you want to get rid of the “pet’, what is that teaching your child? That animals are “throw away” pets or the life is expendable? Having a rabbit as part of the family can be a rewarding way for a child to grow up, if the children are well behaved and supervised at all times. Children should never be allowed to handle small, fragile animals like rabbits without constant adult supervision. They should also not be tasked with the feeding, cleaning and care of an animal when they can not even fully take care of themselves. This does not teach them responsibility like many parents think it will. It just teaches them what it is like to see a poor, defenseless animal suffer, or get injured and die. Do you really want your children to witness this?
Before you get a rabbit, or any other kind of animal, please take the time to learn about their care and their life span. A rabbit normally lives 8-10 years or more, a guinea pig can live 6-8 or more, and a chinchilla can live up to 16 years.
Only adopt if you can make a commitment to care for the animal for the rest of its life. Thank you.