Finders, Keepers

Since our 1988 founding, House Rabbit Society volunteers have fostered over 8,100 homeless rabbits. Who are these creatures? How did they come to be abandoned?

Animal shelters generally classify the creatures in their care as “stray” or “owner surrender.” “Surrenders,” if healthy, may be put up for adoption immediately. Strays must be kept for several days, in case their human is looking for them. Katie Dinneen, shelter manager at San Francisco Animal Care and Control, says, “Where do ‘stray’ rabbits come from? Anywhere and everywhere. People find them hopping down the street, on their doorsteps, in their yards, basements, etc. There are also those who are let loose in parks, but I have found that parks are just one of numerous sources. I think some of them are ‘set free’ but that many of them also get out of wherever they have been confined to live (backyard loose, backyard hutch, garage, kitchen, whatever) and no one ever comes to the shelter to look for them.”

Based on HRS rescue records, about 31% of the rabbits brought into San Francisco Bay Area shelters were stray. Strays in rural environments face a somewhat different set of dangers. They are more likely to be taken by predators before a concerned human comes to the rescue. The Charlottesville/Albemarle SPCA in central Virginia, sees a smaller percentage of strays.

The weeks just after Easter bring a rush of abandoned rabbits to shelters and to the streets. Read on for the story of one Easter throwaway, in his own write.

Amy Espie

House Rabbit Journal Spring 2000: Volume IV, Number 3