Scores of abandoned bunnies need homes

Ten-year-old Niamh Short with one of the rabbits
Ten-year-old Niamh Short with one of the rabbits

ALMOST 60 unwanted Easter bunnies have been taken in at an animal rescue centre and are in need of new homes.

Happy Endings, in Hailsham, has experienced a bunny boom over the past year – taking in almost double the amount of unwanted rabbits than the previous year.

Terry Kemp, a veterinary assistant and co-founder of the charity, said, “Every year people go out and buy rabbits at Easter time – they don’t realise rabbits can live for more than 10 years and when their children grow up it’s them who will have to look after it.

“Every single day I get a call from people asking me to take in their rabbits.

“People get bored of them and can’t be bothered to look after them anymore.”

The charity currently has 56 rabbits aged between six-weeks and 10-years-old which are looking for homes. Last year Happy Endings had 30 rabbits.

Mr Kemp said, “We have got a bit more room now so we’ve been able to take in a few more rabbits but without doubt the recession is having an impact.

“We had five rabbits dumped in cardboard box outside the vets where I worked. They are lovely Netherland dwarf rabbits we have named Malcolm, Morris, Melvin, Branston and Pickle.

“They had a skin condition which was easily treated but perhaps the owner couldn’t afford the vet’s bill. It’s so sad that a once-loved family pet is left dumped on a doorstep.”

Mr Kemp said owning a rabbit is a big responsibility and added, “They are social animals so should be kept in pairs or groups, they need to be neutered so they don’t breed and they need to have a big hutch, where they can stretch out, and also a run, where they can get out and eat the grass and get some exercise.

“They need to be fed, watered and cleaned every day and not just left at the bottom of the garden and forgotten about.”

Happy Endings has 60 acres of paddocks in Hailsham which is homes to rabbits, horses, sheep, donkeys, goats, chickens, cockerels, cats and dogs.

Any donations of animal food, bedding or money are always gratefully welcomed.

The sanctuary has a no-kill policy meaning a healthy animal is never destroyed.

Animals which are not suitable for re-homing will live out their days at Happy Endings. Anyone wishing to re-home an animal must undergo a home background check.

The Easter bunnies in need of a loving home including lion-head crosses, Dutch rabbits, Netherland dwarfs and common domestic rabbits. All the charity’s rabbits are vaccinated and neutered.

Mr Kemp added, “Rabbits make lovely pets, they are so affectionate and love nothing better than a nice stroke and cuddle.

“But, don’t be seduced by that cute bunny in the pet shop and remember a rabbit is for life - not just for Easter.”

To find out more about rabbits which need new homes, visit www.happyendingsrescue.org/rabbits or call Chris Johns, on 07809 721309, or Terry Kemp, on 07821 318241.