Quaker Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation in Brierfield fundraising to help care for six rabbits abandoned in wasteland and back alley
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Those are the words of the owner of a Brierfield animal sanctuary warning people not to abandon their pets. The warning comes following a spate of abandonments in the town since October, with Bethany Cook and her team helping to rescue six rabbits.
Quaker Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation in Holden Road, which currently houses 67 critters, found five of the six domesticated rabbits of various breeds in wasteland while the sixth was caught in a back alley on the outskirts of Brierfield.
The sanctuary is now collecting donations to cover the costs of food, vet bills, a new building, housing and neutering, in order to help care for the animals.
Beth said: “They should never be abandoned. It’s just harsh and cruel because there are predators like foxes who will tear them apart and they can’t fend for themselves, and they can pick up many diseases from rats and wild rabbits.”
Speaking of the rescues, she added: “One of the rabbits’ nails were really long, they were covered in mites and had burns on their legs where they had been sitting in their own wee. It was awful.
“They were all very skittish because they were clearly domesticated pets so they didn’t know how to look after themselves.”
Volunteers found two rabbits last fortnight, one three weeks ago, and three together at the end of October.
Beth believes the same person is responsible for dumping five of the six rabbits as they were found on the same land and are the same age, saying: “I think they’re all from the same litter and someone didn’t want them.
“I think people bought rabbits during Covid and didn’t realise they are hard to look after, or how easily they can get pregnant: it’s within seconds of giving birth, and they have very large litters. Too many are being bred compared to how many are bought.”
She added: “They’re sold as children’s pets but children get bored of them so the parents decide to get rid of them.”
Describing the level of care rabbits require, she said: “They can’t be kept in a cage. They’re social animals and need a companion. They need a lot of attention and stimulation. They suffer from health conditions like overgrown teeth and have a complex digestive system. I think they’re more maintenance than a cat.”
The rescue is also offering help and support to anyone who might be struggling with the cost of caring for their pet.
“With the cost of living crisis, it’s hard work,” Beth said.
"If people are struggling with the costs, we can help provide rabbit food until they can get back on their feet. Just ask for help. Don’t feel embarrassed. We can help.”
Beth advises people to contact their nearest rescue or vets if they can no longer keep their animals, and to have them neutered to help prevent overbreeding.