March 13, 2012 > Developmentally disabled man overwhelmed by rabbits
Developmentally disabled man overwhelmed by rabbits
Submitted By Ian Elwood, Photo courtesy of Ian Elwood
When a developmentally disabled man in Oakland received two rabbits as a gift from his elderly mother as a "project" to keep him occupied, the family probably did not realize that when rabbits occupy, they do not just hop around and wriggle their noses. They take over.
The rabbits were purchased without being spayed or neutered and the mother was told they were both female. One turned out to be male and the mother and son found themselves unable to cope with the proliferation of rabbits.
The mother managed to begin placing a few with new homes when they were old enough but a second litter arrived. She had not anticipated how quickly rabbits reproduce. She eventually managed to separate the boys from the girls but was completely overwhelmed when a third litter was born.
There may be as many as 14 rabbits in a litter and, even after finding new homes for some of the new arrivals, the family still needed to surrender 10 rabbits to Oakland Animal Services, conceding defeat.
Fortunately, the woman's daughter intervened when she realized her mother and brother could not cope. Luckily, none of the rabbits surrendered to Oakland Animal Services was pregnant when the shelter accepted them but the timing was awkward.
Two litters of rabbits from another out-of-control situation had been surrendered only a week before. Oakland Animal Services received 20 rabbits in two weeks, an intake that would create a crisis for any shelter which has now exceeded its capacity for rabbits and seeks help from the local rescue community in the East Bay and beyond to save the lives of these bunnies.
Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary has agreed to take five of the rabbits. Often rabbits, such as big white bunnies, are hardest to place with families because people prefer "designer" rabbits that are smaller, cuter and more colorful.
East Bay Rabbit Rescue has also offered to re-house two rabbits and the San Francisco SPCA will take two into its humane education program.
However, others await rescue. Anyone considering rabbit adoption should visit a reputable rescue organization or animal shelter. Such places will only offer spayed or neutered rabbits to help new owners avoid the burden of accidental litters.
Want to help? Go to Oakland Animal Services, 1101 29th Avenue, Oakland, and adopt a bunny. Volunteers will help adopters learn the "bunny basics" and provide resources to be a great bunny guardian.
For more information, visit www.OaklandAnimalServices.org.