Friday 5 April 2013

The RSPCA is pleased with the response to last week’s rabbit welfare event in Rochdale, organised because of concerns about the number of unwanted, abandoned and neglected rabbits in the area.

 

The two day event – which took place on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 March at RSPCA Rochdale & District branch animal centre – saw 21 rabbits and two Guinea pigs brought through the door by their owners.

 

The RSPCA offered them free health checks, microchipping – essential in ensuring a lost rabbit can be reunited with its owner – and neutering – vital in allowing rabbits to live together without any unwanted litters. Ten rabbits were signed over to the RSPCA on the days and a further five off the back of the event.

 

RSPCA chief inspector Beth Clements said: “These rabbits and Guinea pigs are all better off because their owners brought them to our rabbit welfare event, and we’re very grateful to them for coming.

 

“The ones that were signed over to us were signed over for a variety of reasons. A couple were owned by an elderly lady who had been taken into residential care, two had been found very matted the previous week, dumped in a box. One was being kept in an insecure hutch and was straying and kept being chased by a dog.

 

“Others had been bought as children’s pets but the children were not willing or able to look after them properly.”

 

Two rabbits were put to sleep on the advice of the attending vet for dental problems but the others are all now being assessed for re-homing.

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The event was a joint effort between local RSPCA officers, RSPCA Rochdale & District branch and RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital.

 

In the past year the RSPCA cruelty line has been contacted about 69 healthy stray rabbits; 11 sick or injured stray rabbits; 41 rabbits abandoned in boxes or cages and 335 rabbits reported as neglect complaints. Staff from RSPCA Rochdale & District Animal Centre have also been out and collected abandoned rabbits and had them dumped on their doorstep.

 

RSPCA chief inspector Beth Clements said: “We needed to do something to have a positive impact on the welfare of rabbits in Rochdale.

 

“Rabbits are difficult animals to look after properly, they’re not the simple children’s pet many people believe them to be, and I’m afraid a great many of them don’t get anything like what they need to be happy and healthy.

 

“They can live anything between eight and 12 years, often in tiny hutches, living in their own filth, being fed inappropriately and suffering painful teeth problems as a result.”

 

For more information about what rabbits need to be happy and healthy go to: www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/rabbits

 

To find out more about rehoming a rabbit please contact RSPCA Rochdale & District branch by calling 01706 861897. The centre, on 1 Redcross Street, Rochdale, OL12 0NZ, is open between 11.30am – 3.30pm every day except Wednesday. Some of the rabbits available for rehoming can be found at www.rspca-rochdale.org.uk