House Rabbit Society isn’t able to take in rabbits from the public – we take in rabbits at risk of euthanasia at 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. We will schedule a return appointment with you. Let us know if there’s a way we could help you problem-solve to keep your rabbit. Our adoption agreement requires rabbits to be returned to HRS if you cannot keep them.
If you have a rabbit or found a rabbit you cannot keep, the best option is to house the rabbit yourself or with a friend and try 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 or die due to Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV), a new disease in CA in May 2020. Some animal shelters may be unable to take in rabbits.
Never release a rabbit outside.
Pet rabbits aren’t able to survive outdoors and are easy targets for predators. They’re also at risk of getting RHDV which spreads easily to rabbits outside, other diseases, being hit by cars, and starving to death.
Download our handout: Finding a New Home for a Rabbit
While House Rabbit Society isn’t able to take your rabbit, we are happy to give 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 – email us. 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
See our full list of rabbit-savvy vets.
You may be able to receive a low-cost vet visit at one of these hospitals (new clients only) – be sure to print the coupon to take with you:
- VCA Bay Area Animal Hospital, Oakland – $25 exam for new clients
- VCA Half Moon Bay Animal Hospital, Half Moon Bay – $25 exam for new clients
- VCA Holly Street Animal Hospital, San Carlos – $25 exam for new clients
- VCA Bayshore Animal Hospital, San Mateo – $25 exam for new clients
- Groveway Veterinary Hospital, Castro Valley – $1 exam for new clients
Vaccination against RHDV
With the May 2020 emergence of RHDV in California, rabbits should be vaccinated as soon as possible and annually against RHDV by a rabbit-savvy veterinarian. Many, but not all, Bay Area rabbit veterinarians have the RHDV vaccine in stock.
Spay/neuter makes a rabbit calmer, easier to litter box train, improves the chance of being adopted as an indoor companion, and of having the home be a permanent one. It prevents future accidental litters and uterine cancer for female rabbits.
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 schedule the spay/neuter appointment with them at the time of adoption.
Litter Box Training
A spayed/neutered rabbit is usually very easy to litter box train by putting a litter box in the corner of the cage that the rabbit uses as a bathroom, with Timothy Hay or Orchard Grass in the litter box. Once bunny is using the box, try letting him out to exercise in a safe, bunny-proofed room with one or more litter boxes. To “bunny-proof,” move or block access to house plants/telephone/electrical cords, so the rabbit won’t chew them.
See our flier, above, for recommendations!
In the SF Bay Area, try posting to the Facebook group The Original BAY AREA Rehome & Adopt PETS (Calif).
What to Look for in an Adopter
At House Rabbit Society, we look for indoor homes for rabbits where they will become part of the family. When a rabbit lives in a hutch outside or in a garage, they are at risk of death from predators, heat, cold, and disease.
When a rabbit lives inside the home, they live longer, healthier lives and become part of the family. We recommend an enclosure that is 4’x2′ (larger is always better!), with a solid bottom not a wire grate, or puppy exercise pen, with supervised exercise time daily inside the home. Some people even give their rabbit free-roam of a room once they’re spayed/neutered and using a litter box! Rabbits do not need to have access to outdoor playtime to be happy and fulfilled. Indoor bunny-proofing is important to protect your rabbit and your belongings.
An adult (not a child) should 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. We don’t recommend rabbits live at schools or preschools, where they often become unwanted due to childrens’ allergies or if the rabbit becomes nippy with kids, and schools don’t have a budget for veterinary care if the rabbit gets sick.
An animal shelter should be your last resort. Not all shelters are able to take in rabbits. For a stray rabbit, contact the animal control agency (public shelter) for the city/county where the rabbit was found to inquire if the shelter is able to assist.
Please never abandon an animal either outside or at a vet office, animal shelter, or House Rabbit Society. Rabbits don’t live long outside as they get hit by cars and eaten by predators, and they die when it gets too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. It is a crime in California to abandon an animal.