BY ERIN FAWCETT
The Red Deer SPCA is turning to the community for help as they have 130 rabbits in their care after a rescue from a property north of the City.
At the end of May, local SPCA officials began rescue work by aiding in an overpopulated rabbit colony. There are currently 130 bunnies at the SPCA facility and the others are in foster care. Since they have been rescued, numerous litters have been born in the SPCA’s care.
“We have way more rabbits than we have dealt with in the past – more than our facility can really cope with,” said Tara Hellewell, executive director at the Red Deer and District SPCA. “We have been working with a group of individuals that are helping to save these rabbits and accepting large batches of them on a weekly basis.”
Rabbits can breed from an early age, and Hellewell said the rabbits are being separated into male and female spaces to avoid more breeding. “Our veterinary costs are overwhelmingly high and the bills continue to increase as we intake more of these rabbits in order to prevent them from being dispatched where they currently are,” she said.
The SPCA is in need of people looking to adopt a rabbit into their home as a pet as well as monetary donations to help pay for costs associated with housing the bunnies as well as medical care.
“In order for us to properly and humanely care for these animals, we have to catch them, bring them in, set them up, spay or neuter and give them a health exam by a vet, give them time to heal, then find an immediate adopter for them or transfer them out,” said Hellewell. “Then, we continue the process all over again with another load of rabbits.
“The biggest challenge that we have, other than housing them, is spaying and neutering them.”
In addition, Hellewell said this is the most extreme situation in terms of population that she has seen in terms of rabbits.
“It is very disappointing the rescue community is not better equipped to deal with issues like this. If it was dogs, like in the case of Milk River, where animals have been abandoned, which in itself is a very inhumane crime, then we know there would be a lot of people stepping up to try and help,” she said.
Hellewell added rabbits make great pet and encourages those interested to come and visit them at the facility.
“They make a wonderful pet. They are very sociable animals and can be great pets for older children,” she said. “They can be litter trained and they require as much attention as a cat or a dog.
“We are doing everything we can to make it as affordable as possible for anyone looking to adopt.”