GUELPH, ON (September 3, 2021) – The Guelph Humane Society (GHS) is warning the community about a growing pet bunny population, noting that there are more bunnies than there are people interested in adopting them. This situation is not unique to the Guelph community, as similar trends are being seen at humane societies across Ontario – and even other parts of North America.
“We are seeing three times as many rabbits as we have in the past,” says Adrienne McBride, GHS Executive Director. “This is a problem. It’s reminiscent of where many communities were with kittens 10-15 years ago. Awareness and education on bunny ownership is needed to help break this cycle.”
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of this domestic bunny explosion, but the COVID-19 pandemic likely has something to do with it.
“So many people were getting pets during the COVID lockdowns, and it turns out that many people were getting rabbits,” adds McBride. “Now whether people were unknowingly housing male and females together, which led to unwanted litters – or perhaps people just couldn’t get their pet rabbits spayed and neutered because vet clinics could only see ‘urgent cases’ for a few months last year – this is where we have ended up. With more bunnies than there are homes for.”
McBride says that GHS now has a wait list for people to surrender bunnies and guinea pigs, and they have had to turn away other rescues in the last week who are looking for help with bunnies, since they too have been inundated.
“We have dozens of rabbits in foster care,” McBride says. “We have more rabbits at the shelter. There are more rabbits on the waitlist. And we still have additional stray bunnies coming into our care every week.”
Stray bunnies will likely become an even bigger concern as individuals looking to surrender their rabbits have no where to turn to. Sadly, people have been known to just leave their unwanted domestic rabbits outside, either hoping that someone will take the animal in if its found, or leaving the rabbit to survive on its own in the wild – which domestic bunnies cannot do, as they lack those survival skills.
So what can the community do?
- Spay/neuter your pet rabbits
- Encourage people you know to spay/neuter their pet rabbits
- Stop buying rabbits – adopt them! There are hundreds (and hundreds) of rabbits at humane societies in Southern Ontario, all looking to be adopted.
GHS has had a “Small animal…BIG sale” adoption event going on since August 27th. Put in an application for a rabbit or guinea pig before September 10th, and if you are selected to adopt that animal you will receive 50% off regular adoption fees. That means spayed/neutered bunnies can be adopted for only $80 (compared to $160), and two spayed guinea pigs can be adopted for only $17.50 (compared to $35).
You can apply for a rabbit or guinea pig by going to the Available Animals page on the GHS website: https://guelphhumane.ca/adopt/available-animals/.
About the Guelph Humane Society
The Guelph Humane Society advocates for all animals, and in particular those animals whose lives it can influence, through care, education, community support, protection, and leadership. Founded in 1893, the Guelph Humane Society provides care and shelter for approximately 3,000 homeless, stray, injured and abused animals each year in Guelph and Wellington County. GHS is a registered charitable, non-profit organization that does not receive government funding. Visit www.guelphhumane.ca to discover more.
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Guelph Humane Society