Surge in number of rabbits being abandoned or given up by West Midlands households

Beyonc-Hay at The Holdings
Beyonc-Hay at The Holdings

The RSPCA has said the number of bunnies that have been abandoned or given to the charity has risen by almost a third in the region, amid an “overwhelming” influx of the pets nationally.

The charity said the number of incidents involving the pets leapt from 94 in 2020 to 2021 last year, with more animals being left abandoned after being adopted over Easter.

Rehoming centres in Worcester and Burton-upon-Trent have almost 50 rabbits in need of new homes.

Claire Wood from the Worcester and Mid-Worcestershire branch of the RSPCA, which runs The Holdings Animals Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Kempsey, said: “Since the beginning of the year we have seen an unprecedented number of rabbits coming into our care.

“Some have sadly been abandoned and others handed over because children have lost interest. Our worry is that many rabbits will have been bought on impulse during the pandemic.

“People don’t realise that they are not easy pets to look after, even just the basics such as how young and how quickly they can breed.”

Two bunnies – named Mick Digger and Beyonc-Hay – were abandoned in a field in Albrighton, near Wolverhampton, and are being cared for at The Holdings rehoming centre.

Mick Digger at The Holdings
Mick Digger at The Holdings

They were found on March 29 with no box or carrier nearby and despite their young age – they are thought to be no older than two – both rabbits require dental work, which suggests they may not have been properly cared for.

RSPCA rabbit welfare expert, Dr Jane Tyson, said: “This Easter it’s really important for us to highlight that rabbits are one of the most neglected pets in Britain.

“They need so much more than just a hutch at the end of the garden and are very complex animals with needs for company, stimulation and exercise. They also have long life spans of around eight to 12 years so are a big commitment for a family.

“When rabbits are bought on impulse – maybe as an Easter gift – an owner may not realise how complex they are to care for and what a commitment they can be.

“For anyone who has done their research, and is certain they can provide the time, space, money and care it takes to look after a pair of rabbits, please consider adopting two of the many rescue animals in need of a home, instead of buying them.”

Express & Star Walsall