The word rescue comes up a lot in rabbit owner communities. Some rescuers adopted from a facility that had a time clock ticking on the rabbit’s life. Others find them outdoors – lost and abandoned, foraging for food. People who save domesticated animals and do their best to responsibly rehome them are the guardians of nature’s children – heroes to the indefensible.
Rescuing A Rabbit
To rescue a rabbit is to save him from an undesirable or dangerous living situation. It also means ensuring he has a healthy and safe environment in the future. Without ensuring a better life than he had when he was found, the rabbit is really just being transferred from one bad situation to another.
Countless domesticated rabbits are abandoned by previous owners. The owner decides they no longer want the animal and “set it free” (dump it). As a result, these animals are often found at intersections, in yards, parks and elsewhere. This “dump-the-pet” problem is one reason why those who care for rabbits and their well-being work so hard to educate people about the realities of pet rabbit ownership, and also discourage irresponsible breeding and rabbit sales.
Rabbits are also rescued from testing facilities (labs), homes and farms where they are scheduled for slaughter (culling), locations where they have been abused or neglected or are just plain unwanted.
Will You Keep Your Rescue?
Sometimes rescuers keep rabbits they find. This is true even when there is no prior experience with proper care and handling. It is possible to get up to speed quickly on the basics. However, inexperienced rabbit owners must also learn about rehabilitation if their animal was in a bad situation prior. Once rescued, proper feeding, appropriate/safe housing and a rabbit-savvy veterinary appointment should be immediate priorities.
Rescuers must learn how to quickly identify problems. Rabbits can be suffering immensely, yet remain quiet. Since they are prey animals, they do not complain. This makes it difficult for someone with an untrained eye to detect issues that could range from minor to quite serious.
If you or someone you know is inexperienced and needs help learning about proper rabbit care, don’t be afraid to ask. There may be a rabbit rescue or qualified shelter in your area that you can call. If not, call a rabbit society. House Rabbit Society maintains a list for their locations. This can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.
Long-time rabbit owners (that provide loving, healthy homes) are excellent resources since they have hands-on experience as primary caretakers. Of course, use good judgment when taking advice. Some people give advice that is not helpful, which is a problem with humans and not exclusive to the topic of domestic rabbit care. Even so, many responsible, experienced owners can be found in rabbit communities and groups on social media (Facebook, Instagram, et cetera). They are happy to provide you with helpful information and point you in the right direction so that you can learn quickly.
In addition to individuals who are experienced in responsible rabbit ownership, a great many websites exist about basic care and handling. These sites are maintained by rabbit societies, rescues, shelters, rabbit-savvy veterinarians and others. Finally, many people rescue and responsibly rehome rabbits that are not tied to formal or registered businesses. For helping information on rehoming a domesticated rabbit, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Regardless the details pertaining to any particular rabbit, it is the responsibility of each rescuer to ensure the animal gets the help it needs. For more information on what to do if you find an abandoned domesticated rabbit, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
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