The Scottish SPCA fears more rabbits than ever are being neglected, mistreated and forgotten about after rescuing a record breaking number of bunnies.
Scotland’s animal welfare charity is growing increasingly concerned at the number of animals arriving in their care and is urging members of the public to think very carefully before buying a bunny.
As part of Rabbit Awareness Week this week would-be owners in East Lothian are being asked to consider taking on a rescue rabbit.
Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn, said, “In 2013 our Balerno based rescue and rehoming centre took in 170 rabbits, a figure which has been increasing year on year.
“This worrying trend demonstrates why we need to raise awareness of the hardships many pet rabbits face.
“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 currently have a number of rabbits in our care looking for good, permanent homes.”
Superintendent Flynn added, “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 their 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 centre to meet the rabbits we have waiting for a fresh start in life and loving new homes.”
The Scottish SPCA’s Edinburgh Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre is open from 10am to 4pm daily. For more information call 03000 999 999 or visit scottishspca.org/rehoming.