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Scottish SPCA urge people to consider rehoming rabbits after 40 per cent increase at Inverness centre

By Tom Ramage

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Balerno Pic Peter Devlin
Balerno Pic Peter Devlin

The Scottish SPCA is urging people to think "very carefully" before buying a bunny following a 40 per cent rise in the number of rabbits coming into their care in the first half of the year, compared to the previous year.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity is highlighting the plight of the popular pet as part of rabbit awareness week, which starts tomorrow.

The society is encouraging existing and would-be owners to consider taking on a rescue rabbit rather than buying a new bunny from a shop, with the number of abandoned, unwanted and neglected bunnies coming into their care.

Elaine Floyd, Inverness Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre manager, said: “So far this year we have cared for 31 rabbits at our centre in Inverness, compared to 25 in the same period last year.

“This worrying trend demonstrates why we need to raise awareness of the hardships many pet rabbits face.

“There are many excuses as to why people are giving up their pet rabbits and although there are lots of loving owners who treat their pets like one of the family and give them all the care and attention they need, sadly this isn’t true in all cases.

“Some rabbits arrive in our care in a terrible state having been denied basic nutrition and veterinary attention, while others are sadly forgotten pets children have grown tired of.

“Rabbits are very sociable animals and can become stressed if they are left on their own.

“The biggest issue is rabbits being put in a hutch and left at the bottom of the garden, with many enduring a life of solitude and boredom. Often the only interaction they have is a brief visit from their owner to bring food and water. Many owners even find this to be a chore and it is these rabbits which tend to be dumped outdoors or handed into one of our rescue centres.

“While we never encourage taking on a pet on impulse we have many rabbits in our care looking for good, permanent homes. Anyone thinking of rehoming a rabbit should ensure they have the time, commitment and financial ability to provide a happy and healthy life.

“We’d be delighted to welcome potential owners along to our rescue centre to meet the 12 rabbits we have waiting for a fresh start in life and loving new homes.”

For more information, call 03000 999 999 or visit www.scottishspca.org/rehoming

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