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Rabbit Rescue Group Outraged at Decision by PetSmart, Inc. to Sell RabbitsRICHMOND, CA (July 14, 2007) - House Rabbit Society asks that PetSmart, Inc., immediately reconsider its recent decision to sell dwarf rabbits in PetSmart stores. PetSmart has honored its commitment not to sell puppies and kittens in any of its stores, and HRS asks that the company extend the same protection to rabbits.
A nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing rabbits and educating the public about proper rabbit care, HRS blames thousands of cases of rabbit neglect, abandonment, and euthanasia on impulse purchases of rabbits at pet stores. PetSmart has not previously sold rabbits in its stores, instead choosing to partner with HRS and other rabbit rescue organizations to place homeless rabbits.
As the world’s largest rabbit rescue organization, and with a website that gets over a million hits per week, House Rabbit Society has played the leading role in rescuing and placing abandoned rabbits. As of 2007, HRS volunteers have rescued over 20,000 rabbits, the vast majority of whom were originally purchased through pet stores and breeders.
PetSmart’s proposed sale of rabbits goes against everything that PetSmart itself claims to stand for. According to the Humane Society of the United States, rabbits are the third most-frequently relinquished species at shelters across the country, and PetSmart’s decision to sell rabbits when thousands languish in shelters will cause yet more rabbits to die.
HRS President Kathleen Wilsbach says, “Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not low maintenance animals. In fact, compared to dogs and cats, they are actually very high maintenance pets.” Impulse purchases by customers with little knowledge of rabbits often results in the subsequent relinquishment of the animals to municipal shelters or to rescue groups such as HRS. Even worse, many frustrated owners simply release their companion rabbits out of doors – into neighborhoods or wilderness areas where they fall victim to dogs, cats, raccoons, and motor vehicles.
Because of PetSmart’s decision to breed and sell rabbits in spite of its adoption partnerships with HRS chapters and other rabbit rescue groups, House Rabbit Society is now encouraging its members to shop elsewhere for their pet supplies. For those individuals interested in bringing a rabbit home to their families, HRS suggests contacting local animal shelters, humane societies or rabbit rescue groups for information about adopting a rabbit. A full list of HRS chapters, contacts and other rabbit rescue organizations, as well as comprehensive information on rabbit care, can be found at www.rabbit.org.
House Rabbit Society is a non-profit rescue and education group.
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