Rabbit rescue facing crisis

Raining Rabbits Rescue is struggling, as more people dump their pet rabbits. Photo supplied
  • By Georgia Whitehead, AUT University Journalism Student

A rabbit rescue organisation is struggling to stay afloat as the number of pet rabbits being dumped by their owners in east Auckland surges.

Raining Rabbits Rescue NZ founder Jojo Nally says the not-for-profit group is facing the difficult task of turning away multiple rabbits each day due to a lack of funding to support its work.

She says the public’s generosity has been “outstanding” but is not enough to give all rabbits the veterinary care and homes they need.

The lack of laws protecting rabbits in New Zealand has created a dumping and negligence issue in the country, Nally says.

“In this week alone, I’ve had to take in a blind baby rabbit, two bunnies that had been shaved and had bite marks all over them, one that was being kept in a box and another that had a collar so tight it was nearly choking, and they were only the emergency cases,” says Nally.

“You tell me how I’m supposed to say no to those rabbits.”

With 71 rabbits in the rescue’s care and more expected despite reaching capacity, the rescue has found itself battling to stay on top of vet bills, the costs of food and enclosures for the rabbits.

“Since January this year Raining Rabbits has spent $18,684 on vet care and well over $20,000 in total,” Nally says.

The SPCA, New Zealand’s largest animal welfare group, says it’s concerned about the oversupply of companion animals.

“The excessive, uncontrolled breeding of companion animals is an important factor in creating widespread stray and unwanted animal problems which leads to negative welfare impacts”, says its scientific officer Dr Alison Vaughan.

The SPCA recognises that all animal shelters in New Zealand are struggling but says “animal shelters must work together towards our common goal to improve the welfare of animals”, she says.

People who are interested in supporting Raining Rabbits Rescue and its work can visit the rescue’s Facebook page online by going to www.facebook.com and searching for “Raining Rabbits Rescue NZ”.