Ten abandoned pet bunnies have been rescued by a group of volunteers from an uncertain life outdoors since Sudbury Bunny Rescue Room started its operations this past June.
Those rabbits include a mother bunny called Sweet Pea who was pregnant and gave birth to eight surviving kits while in foster care, meaning that a total of 18 rabbits have actually been saved.
Most of those bunnies have now been adopted out, but they have two currently ready for adoption, Chip and Poppy.
Another rabbit, Cricket, who has undergone leg amputation surgery, will be going up for adoption soon. She will require an experienced adopter, as she has special needs.
Cricket was found on the side of the road in July, and she couldn’t really hop. After a lot of very expensive vet care defrayed in part by fundraisers, it was determined that she had osteomyelitis, and had her right back leg amputated.
“She's doing really good,” Sudbury Bunny Rescue Room founder Enara Iturregui said.
“Actually, throughout the whole journey she's had, she's been really bright, really energetic. She definitely wants to live and keep fighting. So since her amputation, she's much faster, and she likes to try and get into trouble. But as a tripod, it's a little difficult for her. So it's entertaining.”
While adopters are needed, of course, Sudbury Bunny Rescue Room, which used to be known as Sudbury Bunny Snatchers, is again putting the call-out for people who are willing to foster abandoned rabbits until homes are found.
You can foster for a shorter or longer periods of time, or take part in a foster-to-adopt program if you think you’d like to take on a bunny permanently, but aren’t sure.
With winter just around the corner, Iturregui said it’s imperative to get abandoned bunnies inside and cared for properly.
“The domesticated rabbits that have been dumped outside are not equipped to live in the winter,” she said.
“They don't know how to make dens the same way as wild rabbits do. They don't know how to burrow up and stay warm in the winter. They also don't change colours.
“So they're very easy targets for predators in the winter, and it's very likely that very few, if any rabbits will make it through if they're domestic.”
Iturregui said Sudbury Bunny Rescue Room was started because of the problem of dumped pet rabbits in the city combined with the fact that no other rescues will take in the animals.
She said she knows of bunny dumping grounds in Dowling, in McCrea Heights, at a storage facility in New Sudbury and at the end of Lasalle and Falconbridge. “So they're really everywhere,” Iturregui said.
So why are so many pet rabbits being abandoned?
“A big part of it is just misinformation,” she said. “People just don't know that domestic rabbits won't survive on their own out there or they didn't learn enough before adopting and just got in over their heads … Then because no local shelters or rescues were intaking rabbits, people dumped them thinking ‘Oh, they'll be fine either way,’ and then obviously they're not.”
If you’d like to foster or adopt a rabbit through Sudbury Bunny Rescue Room, visit the group’s Facebook page for more information
Heidi Ulrichsen is Sudbury.com’s assistant editor.