Twelve years ago I rescued a rabbit from a pet store where she was being cannibalized by another rabbit. After getting her medical needs taken care of I started calling rescue groups to take her off my hands. I knew nothing about caring for a rabbit and thought I had no place to put her. (I'm certain the bookcase Spiny took the place of could never have given me the joy and love she has.) Every group told me they were full and couldn't take her. One lady even told me to take her to the pound if I couldn't keep her until finding her a home. I said "How can you call yourself a rescue when you're telling me to take her to the pound?!" and hung up, furious.
Finding Spiny Norma led to my education and awareness of the huge homeless rabbit problem no one seemed to know/talk/care about. I have volunteered for many rabbit groups since then and what I've learned is that most of us are usually understaffed, underfunded, overworked, and overwhelmed. For every rabbit we save there are countless others we can't. I'm the lady on the phone now, telling people the exact same thing I was told, only now I understand why. I'm hoping this will help YOU understand why as well.
We want to help you and your rabbit. You're obviously trying to do the right thing. Please understand we are too, but we deal with a minimum of 10 to 25 calls/emails PER DAY concerning unwanted rabbits and we do the best we can to save as many as possible. You could get lucky and contact us (or another group) just when we get an opening. But please be aware it could take anywhere from a week to months to get your rabbit into the rescue system. Here are some tips that will help you get your rabbit safely re-homed:
This is a helpless life in your hands. NEVER release a rabbit anywhere, no matter how safe the setting may seem. Domestic rabbits are not equipped to survive in the wild and inevitably die horrendous deaths. Predation by dogs, feral cats, even humans - are just a few of the perils a dumped rabbit faces. Add in poisoning, hawk attack, exposure, cars, starvation/dehydration - and their chances of survival are slim to none. Dropping him off at a pet store is a crapshoot at best. He will most likely end up as snake food, especially if he's full grown. Schools aren't a good option either, we get a lot of dump calls from school situations...the rabbit either outlives his usefulness or ends up sick or injured with no one willing to pay for medical care.
If you are simply unable or unwilling to do what it takes to find a safe place for your rabbit, take him to the pound. His chances won't be great, but he will at least have a humane death. As for my first rescue... a wonderful rabbit volunteer named Laurie from The House Rabbit Society educated me from the ground up on proper care and Spiny Norma became the first house rabbit of many more to follow. Spiny is 13 now, mischievious as ever, and happily married to her sweetie Dinsdale.
I wish you and your rabbit the best of luck, and thank you for being humane & compassionate . Your rabbit will be forever grateful to you for his life. If you decide to open your heart and home to your rabbit permanently, any of our volunteers would be happy to provide any information that will enable you to do so sucessfully. Contact us.For the rabbits, Cat McIntire - Volunteer, Rabbit Rescue, Inc.