Before I begin today's rant, please read this press release: SPCA Rescues 100+ Animals From Buffalo Apartment. Go ahead and read the whole thing, take some time looking at the pictures. I'll wait right here until you're ready.
Read it? OK good. Here goes: I adopted my rabbits from that SPCA. As far as I can tell, they were part of this rescue in July. Make sure that you look at the pictures. After adopting, I began volunteering at the SPCA to do as much as I could for the rabbits waiting for adoption and for the families who might wish to adopt them. There is space at that particular location for about 8 rabbits, and although a few get adopted each week, and most wait only a month or less to be adopted, there is never an empty cage. As soon as rabbits get adopted out there are more to take their place. Many of the rabbits that come in in such big groups are fostered in volunteer's homes until there is room for them at one of the shelters. There is no lack of really nice bunnies who need good homes.
Neither of the cases I've linked to seem to be issues of active abuse, they both seem to be cases of extreme neglect. How on earth could anyone live with animals every day who were this sick because they weren't being fed, because they were packed in too close and fought each other tooth and nail, and/or because they needed vet treatment they weren't getting? How can a human being allow animals to suffer like this, right in front of them? I have seen rescued rabbits with their ears chewed off because they were stuffed into a cage with lots of other rabbits, none of them neutered, and little or no food. At that point, it's a fight to the death. In some of the cases I've read about nationally, rescuers came on the scene to discover a number of dead animals in amongst the living, or they rescued animals who were so sick and so close to death it was deemed most humane to euthanize them as soon as they were rescued.
Again, what human being can do this? What part of them is so fundamentally broken that they can blind themselve to thier animals' suffering? The couple being charged in the first story I linked to have been quoted in the news as saying that they hadn't done anything wrong. Did you look at the pictures?! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE ASSHOLES?!?!?!?!?!?! I'm sorry Mom, but I can't express my feelings on this without the cursing. And now these poor animals have a long road to recovery as they get medical treatment and wait to be given the chance to be adopted into new homes. I'm still spending time each Thursday night with rabbits who came in as part of that rescue in July. I'm also seeing rabbits who were born in the shelter because their pregnant mothers were rescued in July. And now we have more rescued bunnies who did nothing to deserve their crappy circumstances.
I love volunteering for the SPCA. I have a great time playing with the rabbits every week, getting to know their personalities, and getting them to open up to human contact. My visits with them are also intended to help them combat the stress of being in the shelter, which is not the easiest situation for a rabbit. I've only been able to get one rabbit adopted out since I started, but I could tell that he went to a great home. The mother and son who adopted him came back to buy him more food and hay and said "hi" to me, and told me what a good time they were having with him. I'm so glad I could be a little part in making an improvement, but it feels overwhelming when I compare getting one bunny adopted over the course of 3 months with an influx of dozens of miserable abused rabbits who all need decent homes.
I will not give up. I really enjoy the rabbits at the shelter, and it's amazing how sweet a rabbit can be, even after horrendous treatment. So I will continue to volunteer. Although I got Rusty, the best bunny in the world, from a breeder, I can't imagine ever getting a rabbit from a breeder again so long as there are so many rabbits in the shelter who need homes, and so many more waiting to take their places. I will continue to donate to both the National House Rabbit Society and the New York State House Rabbit society. I will continue to buy my rabbits' food and supplies from the Eerie County SPCA, to donate my time, and to donate money whenever I can. I will continue to introduce friends and family to our rabbits, and to work toward educating responsible pet owners about the joys of rabbit ownership. Rusty was so awesome that our vet used to introduce him to anyone who came in and thought that they didn't like rabbits, or weren't interested in them. She called him "The Bunny Ambassador" and would let them offer him a treat so that he would run right up to them and let them pet him. He just loved it at the vet's, which was great considering how much he was there!
If you're looking for a pet, please check your local shelter, there are lots of wonderful animals looking for homes. If you're looking for a rabbit, check your shelter and your local chapter of the House Rabbit Society, and if you have the means, please make a donation to any of the organizations I've linked to, and buy a rabbit a little time.