Surge in number of abandoned rabbits

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RABBIT owners are giving up their pets in record numbers, according to the Scottish SPCA, with the charity’s local re-homing centre full to capacity.

More than 20 rabbits are currently being cared for at the Petterden centre, between Forfar and Dundee, and an appeal has gone out to animal lovers across Angus to offer them a good home.

There has been a surge in unwanted rabbits over the winter and the SSPCA is taking calls every day from people who want to give up their pets.

Manager Sharon Comrie said the centre’s small animal room is fully occupied by rabbits, some of which were abandoned while others have been handed in by their owners and there are more owners getting in touch every day.

She said: “Every fourth or fifth ‘phone call is someone wanting to give up their rabbit and it’s heartbreaking. It’s the same old story every winter. Some people just can’t be bothered looking after their rabbit in the colder months. The thought of having to go outdoors and clean out a hutch in the wind and the rain is enough to make them give up on their pets altogether.

“Often it’s because the kids have lost interest or gone to college but we are trying to encourage people to realise that taking on a pet is a responsibility and a commitment and you can’t just dump your animal outdoors when you’ve had enough.”

Anyone found guilty of abandoning an animal can face stiff penalties including up to six months in prison or a £5,000 fine and they can be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.

Sharon added: “We are looking for committed, responsible people to come forward and offer these rabbits a second chance. They all need to find permanent, loving homes where they will receive the care and attention they deserve for the rest of their lives.”

Further information is available from the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.