One loose rabbit hopping outdoors in northern California led an animal control officer to find lots more of its relatives — 27 in total. According to a report published by the San Jose Mercury News, the Watsonville breeder requested that they all be taken to the animal shelter nearby in Santa Cruz, near Monterey Bay.
The bunnies, of various ages, are now at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter on Seventh Avenue awaiting a permanent home.
The shelter’s bunny cages are always full, though, and the arrival of the rabbit herd is a good opportunity to remind people that the county has a low-cost spay and neuter program, said Melanie Sobel, manager of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.
“This could easily have been prevented; it’s an educational thing,” Sobel said. “We would love people to come and adopt, but the bigger message is spay/neuter, and adopt versus going to a pet store.”
County pet owners can get their pets spayed or neutered for a reduced cost of $100 per dog, $75 per bunny or $50 per cat. The shelter will provide the service for free from its Planned Pethood Fund, if necessary, Sobel said.
The Rabbit Haven, a local nonprofit that specializes in rabbit care and adoption, was helping shelter folks with the influx of bunnies Monday. They are wonderful at finding foster homes, Sobel said.
Rabbit Haven Director Heather Bechtel said the group had 191 rabbits already.
“Blessings to them for picking up these rabbits,” Bechtel said. “They needed to be removed.”
On the Rabbit Haven website is an appeal for litter boxes, hay, pellets, dishes and volunteers to help clean, exercise and care for the new arrivals.
Todd Stosuy, shelter field manager, said the “very nice family” who surrendered the rabbits had gotten two rabbits at one point and “got in over their head.” There was no neglect, though the rabbits were not being kept in ideal conditions, he said.
A dozen are just 4 weeks old, which is about time for weaning, Stosuy said.
Though they have not all been named, the matriarch, a Flemish Giant, has been dubbed Lula, he said.
The complete report, written by Cathy Kelly, is available at http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21565072/loose-rabbit-leads-surrender-27-shelter-officials-say
For more information on the Rabbit Haven, please visit http://therabbithaven.org/