An Aldergrove animal rescue team warns people not to be sucked into buying a bunny following the release last week of the movie Peter Rabbit. (Special to the Langley Advance)

B.C. animal lovers fears influx of bunnies following Peter Rabbit debut

Pets are not products, and those adopting should expect a 10-year plus commitment

In light of this past Thursday’s release of the movie, Peter Rabbit, a B.C.-based animal rescue organization is pleading with consumers to refrain from impulsively buying rabbits as pets.

The release of films featuring cute animals typically results in a spike in pet sales, which in turn, results in volunteer-run, non-profit rescues being inundated with requests to take unwanted animals once consumers discover how much work they are, said Lisa Hutcheon, president of Small Animal Rescue Society of B.C. (SARS BC).

“For dedicated guardians, having a pet rabbit is a rewarding experience,” the president of the Aldergrove-based group admitted.

“But too often, we see the other side of rabbit guardianship. They are dumped in parks and left to fend for themselves, soon falling victim to injury, disease, starvation and predators. For hundreds of these former pets, death is a slow, painful certainty,” she elaborated.

This has been seen with the release of such films as Snow Dogs, Snow Buddies, Legally Blonde and 101 Dalmatians, Hutcheon pointed out.

“This release poses an extra threat as it coincides with Easter, typically a terrible time for rabbits and rabbit rescues,” she predicted.

.

Adoption means in for the long haul

A cage is not enough.

Rabbits are high maintenance pets that require specialized vet care and daily exercise.

Their indoor enclosures and litter boxes need to be cleaned regularly.

Their survival depends on being fed a specific diet and having their eating and elimination habits closely monitored.

“They are ground loving prey animals that do not appreciate to be cuddled and carried around,” Hutcheon said, offering some insight into what some simply see as cute little cuddly bunnies.

“In addition, rabbits can live up to 10-12 years…..not the one or two years most people think.”

Most rescue groups – which are typically volunteer run and dependent on private donations – are at their limits taking care of abandoned rabbits and victims of cruelty and neglect.

The wait times for owner surrenders are long, and one will most likely not be able to find immediate placement for a rabbit should one decide to give it up.

Releasing a rabbit into the wild is not an option. It is illegal and will result in the rabbit’s death,” Hutcheon said.

“Please enjoy the Peter Rabbit movie and if you feel the urge to add a rabbit to your family, cons for your lifestyle,” she said.

“Rabbits are often a poor choice for children. Otherwise, a stuffed bunny is a great choice.”

.

No other group takes small animals

The Small Animal Rescue Society of BC is a registered charity with the primary focus to rescue and re-home small animals in need – neglected, injured, and abandoned animals are their main priority.

Langley has no where to take small animals,” Hutcheon said.

“If this movie ends creating a surplus of unwanted pet rabbits, then we are in big, big trouble and lots of animals may end up neglected or dead,” she concluded.

SARS works with a number of small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, degus, chinchillas, hedgehogs, reptiles, birds, ferrets, cats, and dogs – and encourages people not to breed or buy while homeless pets are dying.

More information about the group, its need for funding, and what animals are available for adoption can be found online at: www.smallanimalrescue.org.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan residents invited to join Walk for Alzheimer’s online

Taking place on Sunday, May 31, the online event will start at 9 a.m.

Duncan Lanes bowlers take on the best in B.C.

The best results for the Cowichan Valley bowlers came in the intermediate girls division

Sonia Furstenau column: Now the time to make changes for the better

This coronavirus has given us opportunity to identify what matters most in our day-to-day lives.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Drivesmart column: Staying on your side of the road

No exemptions that grant permission to disobey the keeping to the right rule based on convenience.

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read