Dismal shelter experience

We took a posse to help the rabbits at a rural shelter in Illinois. Unlike my visit last time, the turkeys were outside. The goats (the big one was named Elvis) and chickens kept us company.

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Several healthy rabbits got to go home with us. Veronica and Roberta (Satins) and Iris (Californian) are below, and Dawn is holding one of the beautiful Flemmies going to Red Door Animal Shelter in Chicago.

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Dr. Becker generously donated her time and expertise. All the rabbits were examined, treated for ear mites, and had nail trims. Unfortunately not all the rabbits were in good shape.

rob13.jpg Amelia, our helper, kept bunnies from scuffling in the pen Mini rex: bite wounds, nasty ears Minilop: sticky with urine All four feet with wounds Dwarf in worst shape Dwarf: nose and eye eaten away by infection

There were 16 rabbits at the shelter when we arrived today (I had already taken one on the previous visit). We left with 12, most heading to rescue, but some will be euthanized. The gray dwarf was supposed to have been helped to a better place when I was there three weeks ago, but they never got around to it, declaring he was “happy.” (!) Because of that, we decided it would be in the rabbits’ best interests to take any who were similarly ill and suffering. One rabbit had a bite wound to his penis shaft. Dr. Becker couldn’t tell if urine was coming out where it was supposed to or through the hole in the side. She is going to attempt to surgically repair the injury. Another rabbit had terrible sores on the bottoms of all four paws.

We left behind two minilops and two minirexes, divided into the two large hutches. We hope that the reduced numbers of rabbits (originally nine males in one hutch and seven females in the other) will reduce the fighting, although you can only expect so much from unaltered rabbits in a stressful environment. We left very frustrated by the lack of caring on the shelter’s part–some of this came from our differences in backgrounds/philosophies on rabbits as companion animals, but they were not receptive to even our vet’s expert opinion on which rabbits needed treatment and why they couldn’t be kept in groups like they were. To not consider disfiguring infection or animals so ill they are nearly falling over a problem just doesn’t make a lot of sense–either you’re clueless or cruel.

Helping 13 is good, anyway. (sigh)

8 thoughts on “Dismal shelter experience

  1. Pingback: Amy’s Gripping Commentary » My turkey friend

  2. Nice job, Amy. The bunnies you did help thank you.

    You could try cutting a hole in some of the shelter’s workers’ penis shafts. That might get their attention.

  3. Hi Amy, I was wondering if you brought back that tan and white lop, you have it in two of the pictures. I have 2 french lops (brother and sister), had a 3rd one but he passed about a 1.5 ago. Please let me know, good chance I can take a 3rd as I have everything already for him. thanks.

  4. Hi Amy, Thanks for the info. on the bunnies. I may contact them regarding the lops. I have just hesitated on doing this in the past because I am always afraid of bringing health issues home to my bunnies. I did really want to get a buddy for my boy, I know he misses his best pal who we lost a while back. Right now I have a brother and a sister and I can’t bond them to save my life! Both are fixed. The girl is really pretty mean to my boy…:( So I thought I would find another pal for him. Bonded bunnies are so cute together!
    I will definately give it some more thought and thank you very much for the links.


  5. If you go through a rescue like ours (or certain shelters), the rabbit will have already seen a vet. We share any info from the exam and any treatment we needed to give–we won’t adopt out unhealthy rabbits, and we use an exotics specialist. Just something to keep in mind when you look for a bunny! The shelter in IL does not vet check the rabbits; you should expect ear mites (though we gave them the first treatment dose when there) and potentially bite wounds in their remaining rabbits.

    We have a speed-dating approach to bonding rabbits so you can pick the best candidate from our bachelors/bachelorettes. That helps too–I know bonding isn’t easy!

    FWIW, 200 rabbits have just been seized from an abuse case in Watseka, IL, and they may need homes soon (depends on court case). There may be lots of opportunities to help in the near future. There is a link to the news story on our main page at http://www.indianahrs.org

    Good luck!

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