Undertake, do not store for bunnies, urges Guelph Humane Society
People interested in getting a pet bunny can get a deal on adoption fees at the Guelph Humane Society as the organization continues to struggle with a domestic rabbit population surge.
“We are seeing three times as many rabbits as we have in the past,” GHS executive director Adrienne McBride said in a news release. “This is a problem. It’s reminiscent of where many communities were with kittens 10 to 15 years ago.”
Like cats and dogs, bunnies need to be spayed or neutered to keep their populations in check, the release said.
The Humane Society also recommends adopting rabbits rather than buying them, noting that there are hundreds of rabbits in need of homes currently in shelters in southern Ontario.
In Guelph, anyone who puts in an application to the GHS before Sept. 10 and is selected to adopt a rabbit will receive 50 per cent off of the regular adoption fee. That means spayed or neutered bunnies can be adopted for $80, rather than the usual $160.
The same deal applies to guinea pigs, which can be adopted in pairs for $17.50, rather than the usual $35.
“We have dozens of rabbits in foster care,” said McBride. “We have more rabbits at the shelter. There are more rabbits on the wait-list. And we have additional stray bunnies coming into our care every week.”
She explained that the organization currently has a wait-list of people wanting to surrender bunnies and guinea pigs, and the GHS has had to turn away other animal rescues who are looking for help with bunnies.
Stray bunnies are also an issue, with people sometimes abandoning domestic rabbits outside and hoping they will survive in the wild or be taken in by someone else, the release said.
But domestic bunnies lack the skills to survive in the wild, it said.
It’s not clear exactly why the domestic rabbit population has exploded, but the pandemic may have 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,” McBride said. “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.”
Those interested in applying for a rabbit are encouraged to check out the Available Animals page on the GHS website at guelphhumane.ca/adopt/available-animals.