Finding a New Home for a Rabbit
House Rabbit Society does not take in rabbits from the public. House Rabbit Society only takes in rabbits from the euthanasia lists at local animal shelters.
If you adopted your rabbit from House Rabbit Society originally and can no longer keep him/her, please contact us at 510-970-7575.
If you have a rabbit or found a rabbit you cannot keep, your best hope is to house the rabbit yourself (or board her) and advertise to find a safe indoor home for the rabbit. Your local animal shelter should be your last resort, as there’s a chance the bunny might be euthanized.
If the rabbit was found stray: You can take a stray rabbit to any vet’s office or animal shelter to have the front desk staff check for a microchip, for free. It is rare for a stray rabbit to have a microchip, but as House Rabbit Society and several other shelters/rescues microchip rabbits, there is a small chance the rabbit could be chipped. If the rabbit had a microchip, the vet staff would be able to immediately call the rabbit’s family.
While House Rabbit Society can’t take your rabbit, we are happy to give you advice. We can post photos & a bio of the rabbit(s) to our blog & facebook page to help spread the word about the rabbit needing a home. We may be able to loan you some supplies so you can temporarily house the rabbit. Call us at 510-970-7575 for advice.
Learn how to take care of a bunny at rabbit.org.
How to find a home for a rabbit
1) Prepare the rabbit for adoption: spaying/neutering, litterbox training, socializing, checking bunny’s health, and learning his personality.
Spaying/neutering – Spay/neuter makes a rabbit calmer and easier to litterbox train, and improves the chance of being adopted as an indoor companion and having the home be a permanent one. It guarantees against future accidental litters, and prevents female rabbits from getting uterine cancer. If it is not possible for you to spay/neuter the rabbit before the rabbit goes to a new home, ask the adopters to commit to spaying/neutering as part of the adoption – you can even call and schedule the spay/neuter appointment with them at the time of adoption.
Litterbox training - A spayed/neutered rabbit is usually very easy to litterbox train by putting a litterbox in the corner of the cage that the rabbit uses as a bathroom, with Timothy Hay or Orchard Grass in the litterbox. Once bunny is using the box, try letting him out to exercise in a safe, bunny-proofed room with one or more litterboxes. To “Bunny-proof,” move or block access to house plants/telephone/electrical cords, so the rabbit won’t chew them.
Socializing – The more attention you give your bunny, the more she will show off for potential adopters. Petting the rabbit (most prefer the top of the head) will teach her to look for affection from humans. Rabbits also enjoy being hand-fed leafy greens.
Health Check – You may be able to receive a free vet visit for the rabbit from VCA Bay Area Animal Hospital, if you have never taken any animal there before. Sign up for the free vet visit where it says “New Clients: Free First Exam,” then print the coupon to take with you, and call and schedule your appointment. For rabbit vets in other areas, see our list of rabbit-savvy vets.
2) Aggressively seek an indoor home by advertising and screening potential adopters. Advertising is as simple as placing ads in local newspapers and putting up fliers on bulletin boards in coffee shops, libraries, supermarkets, veterinary offices, and pet supply stores, and posting on Craigslist and Facebook. Many people find good homes for stray and unwanted rabbits this way.
When placing ads, state your rabbit’s strong points: “neutered,” “litterbox-trained,” “affectionate,” friendly.” Asking a $10-$20 fee in the ad discourages those looking for snake food. People willing to commit to adopting a rabbit will gladly pay an adoption fee.
To screen people who answer your ad, imagine what kind of home you want for your rabbit, and then stick to your ideal. Engage the caller in a conversation about their past pets to find out what they’re looking for in a pet. Explain that you are asking questions because you want the new owner and the rabbit to be happy. Present a realistic picture of what rabbits are like. If you feel the home is not suitable, make an excuse. Politely tell the caller that your rabbit doesn’t do well with children, isn’t used to hutch-living, is scared of dogs, or whatever.
House Rabbit Society Adoption Standards
At House Rabbit Society, we look for indoor homes for our rabbits. When a rabbit lives in a hutch outside (or in a garage), they are at risk of dying from predators, heat, cold, and disease. When a rabbit lives inside the home, they live longer, healthier lives and become part of the family. The rabbit lives in an enclosure (4′x2′ minimum, with a solid bottom not a wire grate) or puppy exercise pen, with supervised exercise time daily in the home. Rabbits do not need to have access to outdoor playtime to be happy and fulfilled. If rabbits do get outdoor playtime, anytime a rabbit is outside, a person needs to be outside with them to supervise so they aren’t harmed by predators or escape. Indoor bunny-proofing is important to protect your rabbit and your belongings. An adult (not a child) must be the rabbit’s primary caregiver, as rabbits live 8-12 years, and childrens’ interest in a rabbit often quickly fades due to competing afterschool activities, and older children will leave for college while the rabbit remains with the family.
To find your local shelter, see maps of local shelters.
Note: It is a crime in California to abandon an animal. Any animals abandoned at House Rabbit Society will be reported to the police and taken to the public animal shelter.