Imagine if someone told you 95 percent of puppies and kittens didn’t live to see their first birthday. You might be upset and maybe pretty angry, too.
That’s actually the case for pet rabbits — particularly Easter bunnies given as presents for the holiday season. According to the Acadiana Humane Society, that 95 percent figure is a stark reality for the little long ears. Every year after Easter — usually about three or four months later when the baby bunnies hit puberty — the number of abandoned and surrendered rabbits skyrockets, and organizations like Magic Happens Rabbit Rescue in Baton Rouge struggle to keep up with the surge in homeless hares.
Wendy Lincoln, who founded Magic Happens Rabbit Rescue in 2004, and her volunteers have helped place over 1,000 rabbits in new homes over the past 11 years. They also hold regular adoption drives and classes to educate children and adults in proper rabbit care.
“Parents can do a trial run and see if a rabbit is right for their family,” Lincoln said. “Then they should probably adopt a slightly older bunny that’s been spayed or neutered instead of buying a baby. We have a lot of great bunnies that need to find homes.”
Lincoln said there are many reasons people abandon or surrender pet rabbits. The common problem that causes abandonment’s that the baby rabbits reach breeding age around mid-to-late summer and become too troublesome to care for anymore.
“One year after Easter, we had over 70 bunnies just on our waiting list,” Lincoln recalled during a tour of Magic Happens. “Most of the times they don’t tell us they’re Easter bunnies, but I have a feeling some are because of their age.”
If you want more information on adoption or education programs, you can contact Magic Happens Rabbit Rescue on their website or at their Facebook page.