Good news for 100 shelter rabbits!

The shelter visits I’ve recently posted are due to 100 rabbits being seized in a Louisville basement at the end of August, apparently due to inadequate care/neglect. The judge has ruled the breeder may have up to 25 of her rabbits back, and the rest will be in the custody of the Metropolitan Animal Services shelter. The best news is that the cooperating rescue groups, coordinated by Indiana House Rabbit Society (especially Dawn!), have found places for all of the bunnies. They will be treated for their illnesses, spayed and neutered, and adopted to new homes. More information

Indiana HRS will be opening a quarantine foster care facility in Louisville to prepare rabbits to move into other rescues and traditional foster care. If you would like to donate, we are in need of:

    large cages
    large dog crates
    pet pens
    water crocks
    large and XL cat litter boxes
    pelleted wood bedding (e.g. Woody Pet, Equine Pine, wood stove pellets)
    monetary donations for veterinary care: many of the rabbits are quite ill

We’re pleased with the outcome for so many of these rabbits. Imagine spending your life confined to a small, wire-bottomed cage, perhaps without enough room to stand up and stretch, and if your colors weren’t pretty enough you were fed to raptors. Now imagine being treated for your snotty nose and maloccluded teeth and mammary masses and wounded feet, and given daily exercise and love and attention by your own adoptive family, not just one of a herd of breeding animals only distinguished by a tattooed number in the ear. That’s where the quality of life enters, in my opinion.

On the down side, the breeder has selected the Flemish Giants (plus some others) as those to return to her care, and these are the rabbits with the most compromised conditions and housed in the most inappropriate cages. I can only hope she improves their husbandry as they definitely need more space and attention given to their sore hocks and other issues. This outcome is made more difficult because these are my favorite breed of rabbits–so gentle and sweet, and harder for me to reconcile with her “breeding stock” view to selecting the animals.

I’m not out campaigning that we make breeding illegal (my personal feelings aside), and I have absolutely no affiliation with government animal control agencies. (They actually call us for help once these situations are brought into their legal system.) I’m not seeking breeders to convert nor their facilities to “liberate”–that’s not the right answer either. But dammit if I will feel sorry for someone who allowed her breeding stock to get beyond her ability to provide for them. I will celebrate the victory for these few who escaped a shitty life. I will feel sad for that big Flemmie who was out to play last weekend and will soon be back in the cage that tore up her feet.

One moderately happy note: the nearly-dead little black and white baby bunny from my previous shelter post was doing much better under foster care with the vet!

5 thoughts on “Good news for 100 shelter rabbits!

  1. Yes, all the ones in the pictures went back to her. She went around with a clipboard and checked their ear tattoos and picked the rabbits that had good wins in their history so she could breed more. She took 13 of the 15 Flemmies, leaving two sick ones (not pictured). Fortunately those two went home with a vet.

    For the 80ish Dutch rabbits, she used her records to pick the “parents” so she can recreate the whole mess from those few. The only good thing here is the shelter did her “culling” by default so at least they’ll be pets and not fed to raptors.

  2. So she has all the rabbits to breed as pets? Then does she sell them out of her home or sell them to pet stores? What are good “wins”? Sorry, it’s all new to me…

  3. She takes them to shows (like dog shows only the rabbits are judged on a table, not trotted around on a leash) and if a rabbit meets breed standards better than other entries, it “wins.” Over time more “wins” for a given rabbit means the breeder will use it to breed more rabbits and try to get even “better” rabbits with more “wins.” When she “culls” (gets rid of the ones she doesn’t want because they won’t be good in a show), she can sell them as pets, meat, etc, or just kill them. Our information is that this breeder sells them to a bird rescue where the raptors eat the rabbits. It’s all legal but it makes us sad. In most places dogs cannot be killed, so at least dogs being bred for showing should end up as pets when they are culled. But that’s not the case for rabbits.

    Breeders get in trouble from local animal controls for things like poor housing and care, neglect, abuse, or violating zoning (like keeping livestock in a residential area or having too many animals). Local laws determine what is legal for a given place.

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