My husband and I had a Rex rabbit as a pet. When our son was born, we soon realized that he was highly allergic to our rabbit, and we were faced with a difficult decision as we were no longer able to keep our bun.
We decided to donate our rabbit to a good home, and there were strict guidelines to ensure that our dear bunny went to a happy environment.
Rabbits are often donated to new owners, animal centers, rescue centers, shelters, and sometimes to daycares.
Examples of these rabbit donation organizations are the House Rabbit Society (chapters and allies), independent rabbit rescue organizations, non-profit organizations, humane societies, pet stores, and your family and friends.
Do your research to find local organizations that will take your rabbit off your hands, or ask your local vet.
Best Places Where You Can Donate Rabbits
There are several options for you if you are in the unfortunate situation that you can’t keep your rabbit any longer.
Wherever you send your rabbit, be sure they will be safe and taken care of.
1. House Rabbit Society
House Rabbit Society has various local chapters in 37 states in the US you can contact to donate your rabbit.
The organization even has three international chapters in Australia, Canada, and Italy.
Visit their website to find an HRS chapter near you.
2. Independent Rabbit Rescue Organizations
There are various independent rabbit rescue organizations you can contact if you need to donate your pet bun.
Examples of these organizations are:
3. Animal Welfare Groups
Another option is to donate your rabbit to an animal welfare group. You can use PetFinder to search for an animal welfare organization in your state.
The site also lists contact details for the group, so you can easily get in touch.
Most animal welfare groups will assist you, so contact your local animal shelter or humane societies:
4. Rabbit Educational Organizations
Various rabbit educational organizations like The Rabbit Haven educate the public about taking care of pet rabbits.
However, these organizations also provide shelter to abandoned rabbits and help the rabbit find a loving home.
5. Private Institutions and Individuals
Other places that will also consider taking a rabbit are daycares, play centers, pet stores, parks, and individuals who may want a rabbit for a pet or to use for charity work (if the rabbit is well-trained).
A friend of mine was able to donate their rabbits to their child’s school, where they use to keep rabbits in an open space.
Also, do spread the word in your social circle. Often times you may find friends or relatives who are willing to take rabbits off your hands.
7 Reasons Why People Donate Rabbits
Rabbits are donated for many reasons; one of the most common is when people adopt rabbits for Easter because they think it is a cute idea.
Once Easter is over, the novelty of owning a rabbit wears off.
Let’s take a closer look at some reasons why people donate (or sometimes even abandon) their rabbits:
Reason 1: Allergies and Health Issues
Unfortunately, when a rabbit’s owner becomes ill and can’t care for their rabbit or develops an allergy to rabbits (or the hay that they eat), they are often forced to donate their rabbit.
This can also be a traumatic experience for the owner.
Reason 2: Too Much Trouble
Owning a rabbit is a huge commitment, as they need a lot of attention and affection (especially if you want to form a good bond with a rabbit).
Rabbits can also be destructive if they are bored, and keeping their living space clean is an everyday task.
This responsibility can be too much for some owners because of family commitments or long hours at work.
Reason 3: Too Expensive
Keeping a rabbit healthy and happy can become expensive as rabbits do suffer from several health issues, which can be caused by the food they eat and the bedding you provide them with.
Rabbits are high-maintenance and delicate pets, and veterinary bills can accumulate.
When owning a rabbit, it is also advised to have them sterilized, which is also costly.
Reason 4: Traumatized Rabbit
Occasionally, a pet owner will adopt rabbits and attempt to rehome them.
Sometimes, the severity of the abuse or circumstances has severely affected the rabbit, and the new owner can’t form a bond with the rabbit.
The new owner will often approach rescue centers or animal shelters to donate the traumatized rabbit in these circumstances.
Reason 5: Unwanted Pet Rabbit
Often, parents buy a rabbit as a pet for their young child without researching what it means to own a rabbit.
Generally, children can be pretty rough with their pets, and rabbits are not fond of being picked up and carried around; this can cause the rabbit to become aggressive toward the child.
A child might also lose interest in looking after their pet rabbit and become frustrated with the responsibility involved.
Unwanted pet rabbits are a very common reason for people donating their rabbits.
Reason 6: Abandoned or Stray Rabbit
More than often, a person will find an abandoned or stray rabbit and take them back home with the intent to rescue the rabbit.
Unfortunately, the person might not have realized the immense responsibility and the maintenance involved in keeping a pet rabbit, which leads them to donate them to someone else.
Reason 7: Accidental Litter Burden
It is advised to adopt two rabbits, so they can keep one another company.
Sometimes, the pet store or breeder sexes the rabbits incorrectly, and you end up with a buck and a doe.
Before you know it, the rabbits have started breeding, and instead of 2 rabbits, you end up with 8 to 12 rabbits in less than a month.
The financial burden of owning so many (unexpected) rabbits can be too much for a pet owner, and they can decide to donate the rabbits to a good home instead of caring for the buns.
Sterilizing the rabbits is also an option, but it depends on the owner’s financial situation.
7 Tips to Successfully Donate Your Rabbit
If you have considered all the options of keeping your rabbit, but you still feel that it would be best to donate your rabbit to a good home, here are a few tips that will allow you to successfully donate your rabbit.
Let’s take a look at these successful tips:
1. Sterilize Your Rabbit
Before advertising that you want to donate your rabbit, you should first consider having your rabbit sterilized.
Most people who adopt pet rabbits don’t want them to breed and ultimately have the responsibility of an unexpected litter of kits.
Having your rabbit sterilized will also make them more adoptable as it will lessen the amount of biting and territorial urination.
2. Detailed Flier
Get some colorful and detailed fliers made of your rabbit and include information such as:
- Rabbit’s name
- Rabbit’s sex
- Are they sterilized or not?
- Brief description of their age, physical appearance, and weight
- Description of their personality (list the positive traits)
- Include any conditions that you want people to abide by when adopting your rabbit
- Never use the word “free” on your flier, as this will attract the wrong kind of owner
3. Potty Train Your Rabbit
Ensuring that your rabbit is litter box trained will help make your rabbit more adaptable and make them more appealing as an indoor living rabbit.
4. Home Visits
Before allowing someone to adopt your rabbit, it is a good idea that you do a home visit to approve the new living arrangements for your rabbit.
5. Take Your Time
When deciding to donate your rabbit, take your time when choosing a suitable new home for them.
Please don’t allow your rabbit to go to the first person willing to adopt them.
Ask the necessary questions, and make sure that the new owner gives you peace of mind regarding the happiness of your rabbit.
It can take some time to find a suitable person to adopt your rabbit.
6. Check Up on Your Rabbit
Once your rabbit has been successfully adopted, it can help to check up on them in the first month (if the person allows that) to ensure that your rabbit is settling in and that the new owner is treating your rabbit well.
7. Prepare a List of Questions for New Owners
Setting up a list of questions that you would like to ask the potential new owners can be beneficial. Having these questions answered will also give you peace of mind.
Here are a few questions you can ask:
- Have you owned a pet rabbit before?
- Do you have children under the age of 8?
- Do you have predatory pets?
- Where will your rabbit be living?
- Are they open to home visits for the first 2 months?
- Do they have other rabbits?
Donating a Rabbit FAQs
Can I release my rabbit into the wild?
A domestic rabbit should never be released into the wild.
Unlike wild rabbits that hide in warrens, a domestic rabbit will have nowhere to hide and will likely be killed by a predator.
A domestic rabbit can also starve or become ill in the wild.
How many rabbits are abandoned each year in the US?
According to the House Rabbit Society (HRS), over 35,000 rabbits are donated or abandoned annually in the US.
How popular are rabbits as pets?
Pet rabbits are the third most popular pets in the US, with the most popular bunny being the Rex rabbit.
Final Rabbit Donation Thoughts
Donating your pet rabbit is never easy and can be traumatic for both you and your rabbit.
Most rabbit-related problems can be overcome with patience and a little research, but if you have decided to give up your pet rabbit permanently, it is important to make sure you find them a good, loving home.
Do a background check on any potential owners or shelters that adopt your pet, as there are a lot of places out there that might use rabbits for meat or feed other pets such as snakes and birds of prey.
It would be best if you also thought twice before adopting another pet as they do grow attached to their owner.
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