Animal rescue and re-homing centres are taking in ever-increasing numbers of pets, as more and more people struggle financially, so it is therefore extremely worrying to see so many local advertisements of baby animals for sale.
I recently passed a house selling baby rabbits for as little as £7 each.
This will only tempt people into buying one; thinking it to be an easy, cheap pet for their children.
As someone who has spent years taking in unwanted and neglected rabbits, I know first-hand that this is not the case.
Rabbits are now the third most popular pet but are the most neglected; basically because they are inexpensive to buy and people seldom learn how to care for them correctly.
A rabbit bought for £7 will need at least a 6ft x 2ft hutch with attached 8ft x 4ft run, costing £150 to £200.
It will need three vaccinations a year, costing £12-£15 per vaccination. It will need a friend (rabbits should not be kept alone) so both rabbits will need neutering, as unneutered same-sex rabbits will fight and opposite sexes will, of course, breed.
The cost of neutering varies but allow over £40 for a male and over £60 for a female.
The rabbits will then need good quality hay, vegetables and pellets. Add to this any vets bills that may occur and suddenly the cost of the rabbit is quite a bit more than £7!
Breeders and pet shops don’t ,of course, tell customers any of this. So, people buy rabbits in particular, on a whim and are totally unprepared for the care involved and the cost.
Pretty soon the rabbit is either neglected at the bottom of the garden or given up to an already over-burdened rescue centre along with the other 30,000 rabbits that end up in rescue centres every year!
Can I therefore please urge anyone who is tempted by these advertisements for baby rabbits to think very carefully about the commitment and expense involved.
If, however, you feel that you are able to give a rabbit a good home; please consider adopting from a rescue centre.
Both the local RSPCA and Lincs Ark have rabbits needing good homes. The rabbits are already neutered and vaccinated and are homed in pairs or as singles to befriend someone’s existing rabbit.
For advice on how to care for rabbits properly check out The Rabbit Welfare Associations website www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk
To adopt a rabbit contact www.rspca-lincseast.org.uk or www.lincsark.co.uk