Finding Homes for Rabbits and Other FAQs
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions:
How can I find my rabbit a new home?
Note: If you originally adopted your rabbits from a rabbit rescue, you must contact the rescue first before giving the rabbits away. Rescues have the right and obligation to take the rabbit(s) back.
Before you give up your rabbit, please consider that s/he will miss you. Also, you will not be able to protect your rabbit once out of your custody. Therefore, if there is any way at all that you can make accommodations in your life so s/he can remain with you, that is almost always the best option. If you need help with behavioral problems, please contact us for help prior to giving up your rabbit. Many people give up rabbits for “bad behavior” when a simple neuter operation would solve all their problems. If the cost of taking care of your rabbit is a problem, read our handout “Bunnies on a Budget” and contact us for additional advice.
• NEVER release your rabbit in the wild! Domestic rabbits released into the wild will succumb to predators, poison, disease or starvation. Abandoning a rabbit in a park or in the forest guarantees a cruel death—and it is illegal in California.
• NEVER give away your rabbit “FREE”. Free rabbits are used as snake food, blood sport (training pit bulls for fighting), human food, crush videos and other forms of animal torture. Some of the people who victimize animals are quite adept at pretending they will provide loving homes. To protect your rabbit, ALWAYS charge an adoption fee of a minimum of $50 and screen adopters.
• Do not simply drop your rabbit off at the nearest animal shelter. This may be the only option, but at least contact us first so we know the rabbit will be arriving at the shelter. We will then attempt to keep an eye on the rabbit and protect it as much as that shelter allows us to.
We do understand that there are circumstances that may force you to find a new home for your rabbit. In that case, you have the following options:
1. You or a responsible friend can foster your rabbit and advertise on our website until s/he is adopted. Please send a cage-free, indoor ‘photo to email@example.com along with the name of the rabbit and a brief description highlighting your rabbit’s special qualities. See our Adopt pages for examples. Please note that all rabbits must be neutered prior to adoption.
2. You can bring the rabbit to your local animal shelter. Most shelters will not guarantee adoption, however. It’s very important that you contact us prior to doing this. Some animal shelters have a higher placement rate than others, and there are certain steps you can take to better protect your rabbit should you decide to go this route.
3. You can try to advertise the rabbit for adoption yourself. We have many years of experience finding homes for rabbits, so even if you do try to re-home your rabbit via other avenues, it’s always to your advantage to list your rabbit on our website as an added measure.
When advertising your rabbit for adoption, include the following:
• The rabbit’s name
• Sex and if the rabbit is neutered or spayed. Neutered rabbits are far more likely to find a home.
• A brief physical description, including approximate age and weight.
• A brief description of the rabbit’s personality. Does she chase the family cat, or have a favorite toy, or flop with her toes in the air? Anything distinctive will help to separate your rabbit from the thousands of others seeking homes.
• Special conditions for adoption such as no dogs, no small children, indoors only, etc.
• The adoption fee should be between $50-100. NEVER give away a rabbit for less than $50!
Prepare a list of questions to ask the potential adopters to insure your rabbit finds a safe, loving and committed home. Look at our adoption application form for guidance. If you feel a potential home is not suitable, do not adopt. It can take time to place your rabbit in an acceptable home. In the meantime, we encourage you to read the educational material on our website, on www.rabbit.org and to contact us if you need advice on dealing with behavioral issues.
Thank you for caring, and the best of luck to you and your rabbit.
What should I do if I find a stray rabbit?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-713-2478. Our call volume is very high so please do not wait if the bunny is injured or you cannot care for it. In that case, please take the rabbit to your local animal shelter or veterinarian. When feeding a stray rabbit, start with water and grass hay (NOT alfalfa hay), then introduce small amounts of plain rabbit pellets. Do not simply feed a stray rabbit lettuce and carrots–the sudden introduction of vegetables and fruits the rabbit is not accustomed to can make it seriously ill or even kill it. We understand if you are unwilling to take the bunny to an animal shelter. In that case, please see our basic care information on this website. If you cannot keep the bunny, you have the option of fostering or finding it a foster home, and listing it on our website for adoption.
What should I do if I see a street vendor selling baby rabbits?
The illegal sale of animals is a problem in downtown Los Angeles and other places, especially as Easter approaches. Unscrupulous people think nothing of removing unweaned babies from their mothers to make $20. Sadly, the majority will not survive longer than a week. Even when rescued, their chances of survival and finding a good home are slim.
Do not patronize these animal traffickers as it only encourages them to sell more animals. Instead, try to get their vehicle’s license plate number and report them to the police. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477). UPDATE: As of September 2011, it is now ILLEGAL to buy rabbits sold on the street. Fines up to $1,000 apply for those buying from street vendors.
Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also submit their crime tips online at LAPD Online WebTips.
What should I do if I find an injured wild rabbit?
In the Greater Los Angeles area, call 818-591-9453 to reach California Wildlife Center’s Hospital Line. You can also visit www.californiawildlifecenter.org. If you cannot reach the wildlife organization quickly, please contact an exotic veterinarian. An injured wild rabbit often has a slim chance of survival. Here’s a link to the list of wildlife rehabbers in the U.S.