Considering starting a rabbit rescue?

There are so many considerations. Rescue work can be an emotional roller-coaster of highs and lows – our helpful thoughts list may help you decide if running a rescue is right for you.

Thinking of starting a rabbit rescue?

Time & Emotional Support

It’s important to understand that the Rescue is “YOU” – even with reliable volunteers the “buck” really does stop with you.

There may be times when you feel completely alone with the burden that running a rescue can bring and emotional burnout is sadly common in rescue work.

It really is essential you have the time to devote and support from family and volunteers as it can be easy to underestimate the impact rescue work can have on your life quality and all those around you. Even when the best outcome comes along of re-homing a rabbit to a new home, there is a wealth of work involved such as home checks and support for the new owners which very often goes on beyond the initial rabbit re-homing.

Consider a disaster recovery plan – what would happen if you were suddenly taken away from the rescue for any reason – do you have family or reliable volunteers you could call on for help to feed and medicate in your absence.

Personality/Skill Sets

The requirement to multi-skill whilst keeping emotions in check in highly challenging situations can be very hard and emotially draining. Take some time to think about areas you may need extra help with, are you comfortable training
volunteers? Can you delegate tasks easily? Can you give direction? Can you give emotional support to those giving up their pets? Can you make the decision to put an animal to sleep if needed? Can you be non-judgemental?

When finances are tight, can you choose between financing expensive treatments for an animal with a chronic condition or offering a rescue place to a healthy one?

Services

Are you going to provide additional services such as bonding, boarding, education?

A well thought-out plan will help to increase the chance of success for your rescue. In offering these services it will be necessary to have strong administrative skills or someone to do this for you in creating supportive documents such as boarding contracts, general education and advice literature.

Do you have access to a neutral bonding area and time for additional ongoing support which is very often required for both successful and unsuccessful rabbit bondings.

Finance

Finances and funding require thought and planning.

The list of expenditure is endless. Essentials such as adequate welfare housing, food, regular vaccinations & general veterinary care, Insurances are just the starting point of escalating costs involved in running a rescue.

Investigate how you might manage fundraising – it’s unlikely you will have the time to do this yourself – are you able to have a responsible, trustworthy person to manage this on your behalf.

Location

Local Planning Permissions may apply depending on your rescue location. Also keep in mind that neighbour disputes & complaints can arise from increased car parking, aviary sheds/hutches. Local Authorities have power of closure. Unfortunately should this happen the animals can then become an increased pressure in attempting to find alternative rescue placements.

The ‘buck’ stops with you

Veterinary Care

Investigate your nearest rabbit savvy vets. Arrange a visit to establish their services. It may be worth researching nearest specialist referral vets in case more challenging vet care is needed. Talk to your vets about their payment policy – is it pay as you go or are account facilities available.

Biohazards

With increasing outbreaks of rabbit viruses it will be essential to have a biohazard plan in place. Consider how you would implement this if the worst happens.

What is your rescue policy regarding boarding rabbits and quarantine areas for new arrival rescue rabbits?

A waste management licence is normally required for regular tipping of rabbit waste and you may need to invest in a dedicated laundry area for washing of bedding for special needs rabbits and reduce cross contamination of disease.

Know your Limits

You will need the emotional strength to be able say “No room at the Rabbit Inn”

It’s very hard to try not to see yourself as the only solution and continue to take in rabbits regardless of the impact on your finances and resources as well as the impact on rabbits already in your care. Do not wait until you are in a crisis situation to ask for help.

Resources

Utilise social community to get to know other rescues where you can share information and offer each other support. Social communities can also be a great way of keeping up to date with news, changes to legislation, veterinary/medical information.

Volunteer

Rescues are always in need of dedicated volunteers – why not try some regular volunteer work, it’s a great way to learn about all the highs and lows of rescue work and how much of a committed lifestyle is required in running a rescue. You wlll also have access to a wealth of experience and guidance to help you in your decision of running a rescue.

Download this blog as a poster (printable format)

Campaign Update Spring 2019

Welcome to another Campaign Update, keeping you informed of our constant fight to make things better for  bunnies.

In the news

Richard, our Expert Vet, has been busy putting together articles for the Mail on Sunday Healthy Pet Magazine, and also for Pet Plan’s journal. On top of this we did an interview for The Times about our Capone Campaign and the huge effect that this is now having, with many other organisations using the software that we commissioned. The tool has really taken on a life of it’s own under the guidance of Keith Hinde and Tech4pets, and we are thrilled with the results it is achieving. Follow Tech4pets on Facebook for more information.

Click the link below to view the Times article in full

TIM_20190101_null_null_01_17

Capone Campaign

Speaking of which, Mark, our Welfare Officer, has been working hard and has this update for us:

“Since June 2018 I have examined over 1,500 advertisements and advertisers across the UK. Of those where I have identified people selling and advertising more than once a month, I have carried forward 261 traders/advertisers for further examination and enquiries.

“Many of these are untraceable, but I have fully researched 22 and referred seven of those to local authorities and the RSPCA, with a further nine referred to other interested agencies.

“In this period (June to December 2018), I have had two responses; one council is still making enquiries and the second refused to investigate, stating that it was not within their remit and that they could not see that the breeder was committing any offences. Sadly this is a common response from many councils whose licensing teams are stretched to the limit under austerity measures, and therefore apply their resources to what is perceived to be higher-risk licensing problems. This means that they often devote little or no resource to animal welfare licensing.

“In addition I have identified a further three traders engaged in the sale of counterfeit goods. These have been referred to the local authority Trading Standards Departments. Also three traders engaged in the apparent sale of goods derived from endangered species; these have been referred to the appropriate Police units”.

Some casework examples from the second half of 2018 have been:

1 Report of factory breeding in awful conditions in Rutland at an unspecified location. A potential location was identified and passed to the RSPCA for further action.

2 Ongoing and lengthy enquiry to identify and locate a prolific seller in Kent using numerous platforms. At the time of writing we are anticipating a referral.

3 Complaints relating to sales of homeopathic remedies for RVHD2 by an online seller. The trader has been referred to DEFRA Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

4 Complaint about a local trader in Manchester selling an ill rabbit and refusing to acknowledge the buyer’s concerns. Enquiries linked him to numerous sites and many different types of animals being bred and sold. This has been referred to the local authority and RSPCA.

5 Reports of a beggar on Leicester Square using rabbits to entice the public (October 2018 ongoing).

Mark’s point about councils not investigating due to lack of resources highlights the nature of the battle we are fighting, but makes us even more determined to keep on trying because we need to do everything we can to prevent the suffering caused by unlicensed and casual breeders. The Capone campaign was so-called because the famous gangster was brought to justice not for his obvious crimes, but for secondary offences. Finding evidence of the sale of counterfeit goods is an example of this approach – anything to hinder these unscrupulous traders.

Take care

Anybody following any of the rabbit rescue groups on Social Media will probably have seen many rescues in the UK step in to help out a ‘rescue’ that had been keeping rabbits in absolutely atrocious conditions. We don’t know the history of the so-called rescue, or the person involved, but the rabbits are now safe with genuine rescues and are getting the best care possible. It is terrifying to think that someone calling themselves a rescue could behave in this way, and that the animals in their care could be so neglected. This serves as a warning to all of us that we need to do our homework when deciding to support a rescue financially, or to anyone surrendering a rabbit to a rescue for whatever reason. Please ask questions; any genuine rescue will be happy to answer them for you, and always ask around. Has anyone you trust seen or been inside? Do they give good advice? Does their website give information about the people in charge? Be wary of any organisation that does not give the names and experience of the people that run it, because this suggests that they may have something to hide.

Please take the time to do some research before you hand over any money, sign any petition and especially if you are trying to rehome rabbits.

It’s a shame that we have to be so careful because there are so many good rescues doing great work – please don’t stop supporting genuine rescues, but be sure to do your homework.

Winter Rescue

Although the RWAF is not a rescue, at times we are made aware of situations that we cannot ignore. Last month we were involved in a case where a large commercial breeding facility was closed. We worked closely with all involved and were able to get the remaining 37 rabbits to safety. They were mainly mums and babies.

As always a successful rescue relies on teamwork, so a huge thanks goes to the brilliant team at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Hospital for Small Animals exotics team. Special thanks going to vets Jenna Richardson and Kevin Eatwell for allowing us to fill their wards and for health checking all the rabbits and starting them off on a vaccination and neutering programme.

Huge thanks also to the incredible volunteers we rallied locally to offer short-term foster homes to acclimatise the rabbits to love and comfort, and to the rescues that have offered them spaces, in particular our friends at Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care who took a whopping 13 rabbits for us.

The RWAF are funding all the health checking, treatments, vaccinating and neutering cost of all the rabbits, which we expect to run in to several thousands of pounds.

Very sadly it was not good news for all of the rabbits that we managed to rescue, because some of the health problems were just too severe. However, they were given the very best chance possible and decisions were not made lightly. This is the hard side of rescue and something we are pleased we do not have to face every day, unlike the many rabbits rescues, for whom it is part of their day to day lives.

The lucky rabbits that were placed with rescue centres are doing well and several have already been adopted. We hope to bring you some happy ending stories next time.

We have just had our first invoice for the vet fees so far and it was £2,478.80, so the funds raised before Christmas online are a huge help towards this.

New website for pet owners

In November, as part of our role in the Pet Advertising Advisory Committee, we were one of a number of the UK’s leading animal welfare organisations, veterinary and industry bodies who have come together to launch a website to help guide the general public in what to look for when acquiring a new pet. More information is featured in Round Up on page 32. Visit the website at: howtobuyapet.org.uk

Webinar on RVHD2

We were pleased to work with Hipra, the manufacturer of Eravac, one of the RVHD2 vaccines on the market, to put this excellent webinar together. You need to create an account to view it, but you do not need to be a vet professional. Our thanks to Hipra for this. Go to: hipra.vbms-training.co.uk

Don’t wait, vaccinate

Pets Corner are displaying our vaccination poster

We were really pleased that Pets Corner and Nottcutts Garden centres agreed to display our new ‘Don’t wait, vaccinate’ poster in their stores. This will help us raise awareness of the need to vaccinate all pet rabbits. Our sincere thanks to them for working with us on this vital issue.

Rabbit-Friendly Vet list

The list now stands at 130 rabbit-friendly vet practices in the UK.

A reminder that this list is available on our website to anyone looking for a rabbit-savvy vet. To be included vet practices need to be a member of the RWAF and to have completed a comprehensive questionnaire that is reviewed by our RWAF veterinary adviser Richard Saunders.

Coming next issue

Coming next issue

The summer 2019 Rabbiting On will include features on:
• Bladder stones and sludge – Veterinary surgeon, Nathalie Wissink-Argilaga looks at what causes rabbits to develop bladder stones and sludge, the signs and treatments.
• What does poisonous mean for rabbits? – Veterinary surgeon, Guen Bradbury explains how rabbits naturally avoid poisonous plants.
• Physiotherapy – Veterinary physiotherapist, Gill Griffiths describes how and why physio is used to treat rabbits.
• How to nebulise your rabbit – Registered Veterinary Nurse, Rachel Sibbald guides us through the process.
And much more…Don’t miss out! Ensure that your subscription is up-to-date so you can receive the issue hot off the press in May 2019.

RWAF FOCUS – WHO IS WHO AT THE RWAF?

Ros has always had rescue rabbits

Ros Lamb – Director

Ros is the RWAF’s Fundraising Officer. She keeps in touch with the agencies that provide fundraising platforms and is always on the lookout for more. She contacts donors, where we have contact details for them, to thank them for donating. We can do that being a small organisation, unlike larger bodies that receive so many donations and cannot pass on personal thank you messages. She also oversees our annual
online auction.

Ros also mans the RWAF Helpline three days per week – if you phone us on Monday, Tuesday or Friday, it’s Ros you’ll speak to. And she answers most of the RWAF’s incoming mails. If you write to us at info@rabbitwelfare.co.uk or hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk it’s Ros who will respond. This means a lot of contact with members of the rabbit-owning public, vets, boarding owners, rescues and so on.

She was one of the team who helped create our new website which of course is an ongoing project. She coordinates with Outreach Officer Hilary Luckett to identify rescues for our Sponsor a Rescue scheme.

Ros didn’t have rabbits as a child although there were always family pets – dogs, budgies, tortoises, parrots, fish – and when she became an adult she became a horse owner. She had four horses over the next 31 years and they all had a home for life with her. Rabbits came into her life in early 1998 and over those years she has always had a pair of neutered, bonded rabbits. A pair is as many as she has space and finances to look after properly, but when she wins the Lottery…! All of them have been rescues – of course! Some adopted from rescue centres, some privately rescued. This doesn’t amount to a lot of rabbits, but it does mean many, many years’ learning which is still going on, and happily they have all lived long lives. She became a RWAF member in the same year she adopted her first rabbit, although in those days it was called the British Houserabbit Association.

Ros was a teacher in secondary schools and further education from 1975 until she retired in 2008, and soon after that she was invited to join the RWAF management.

Winter Rescue Appeal

Although the RWAF is not a rescue, at times we are made aware of a situation that we cannot ignore. Last month we were involved in such a situation in Scotland which involved the closure of a large commercial breeding facility. We worked closely with all involved and were able to get the remaining 37 rabbits to safety. They were mainly mums and babies.

As always a successful rescue relies on team work, so a huge thanks goes to the brilliant team at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Hospital for Small Animals exotics team. Special thanks going to vets Jenna Richardson and Kevin Eatwell for allowing us to fill their wards and for health checking all of the rabbits and starting them off on a vaccination and neutering programme.

Huge thanks also to the incredible volunteers we rallied locally who offered short term foster homes to acclimatise the rabbits to love and comfort and to the rescues that have offered them spaces, in particular our friends at Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care who took a whopping 13 rabbits for us.

RWAF are funding all the health checking, treatments, vaccinating and neutering cost of all the rabbits and so we are asking for your help!

If you can donate anything at all to help with these costs we would be very grateful.

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/rwafwinterrescueappeal/479018?

or

https://www.facebook.com/donate/585107328578451/2241257019219280/

Please tick for Gift Aid too if you are eligible. Both fundraising sites will process it and it adds a further 25% to your donation from HMRC at no extra cost to you

We expect this rescue to cost into the thousands, however if there are any surplus funds from this fundraiser over and above our costs, we will add it to our campaign funds which you can read about here https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/campaigns/

Thank you all very much

April’s rescue page – have you got room?

Our rescue page has been updated for April and features two rescues, Windwhistle Warren in Gloucestershire and Little Angels Rescue in Essex http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rwf/?section=rescues.html In addition, we feature two further rescues in this message, and a further case where a private person has come to the rescue of bunnies about to be dumped.

We start with a request for a very special personor family to adopt a special needs bunny and his bondmate.

The Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary has a rabbit section and recently two rabbits were handed in, one of them, Rory, had a problem which affected his movement, which the vet later confirmed as a broken back. This has been confirmed by a second veterinary opinion. Because of this, as you can guess, Rory is a special needs rabbit, and needs a home where people will be able to offer him the time and commitment he needs, and will also be able to offer his friend Rosie a home, as they are both very attached to each other.

We know that because of his special needs, Rory will need a special home, and know that this will be hard to find, but as he is such a lovely rabbit we think that he is worth all the effort that it will take, and hope that there is someone out there who will feel the same, who will welcome this pair into their home and hearts.

[IMG]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/roslynlamb/Work/538327_423160867701122_270178866332657_1887783_1776525977_n.jpg[/IMG]

If you feel you are the right person to take on Rory and Rosie, then please contact Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary 01865 890239, email contact@oxfordshireanimalsanctuary.org.uk or via their website http://www.oxfordshireanimalsanctuary.org.uk/

……………

Freshfields Animal Rescue is an independent rescue based in the north west. We have a non-destruction policy and prioritize stray, abandoned and abused animals. Our small animal unit houses on average 30 rabbits, 15 guinea pigs and other various small animals. All of our rabbits are neutered, vaccinated, micro chipped and health checked before they are rehomed.

We have rabbits of all ages, colours, sizes and types. Unfortunately some are harder to rehomed than others. We particularly struggle rehoming older rabbits (3+). For example Fifi and Zac are a fantastic pair of rabbits with no health problems and great personalities but because they are aged 4 and 5 they always get overlooked.

[IMG]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/roslynlamb/Work/FifiZack.jpg[/IMG]

We also struggle to rehomed larger rabbits as most people who come to us want dwarf rabbits. An example of this is Jamie and Sylvia. They are French lops and have a really lovely temperament and cheeky attitudes and this all adds to their charm. Unfortunately because of their size many people are not willing to build a pen big enough for them and they are overlooked.
[IMG]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/roslynlamb/Work/SylviaandJamie.jpg[/IMG]

For more information on our rabbits and all the other animals at Freshfields Animal Rescue visit our website www.freshfieldsrescue.org.uk.

……………….

And finally, we were contacted recently by a lady who had been told by a man that he was going to turn out two ‘Nethies’ onto the street. She took them in, to find that they are in fact young large dwarf lops, harlequins. It’s likely that there’s a lot of French lop in them, given how big they already are at such a young age.

They’re only 4 or 5 months old, but because they weren’t neutered when she took them in, they began to fight and are now having to live apart from each other. The lady says

‘ They are now separated (since a couple of hours after we took them in) as they were fighting and we put them in the big runs, which meant we had to give up two runs for 2 of our bonded pairs. I would like to rehome them as house rabbits.

I have named the boys Jack (Calico) and Henry (Harlequin). Henry has amazing blue eyes. He is the gentle soul and Jack is full of energy and very friendly. Henry is also friendly but more of an introvert.’

Both are being neutered this week and they will have their VHD vaccinations next week. They are in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

[IMG]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/roslynlamb/Work/2salt.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/roslynlamb/Work/2pep1.jpg[/IMG]

If you feel you can offer a home to either Jack or Henry, then please contact hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk and your mail will be passed on to the rescuer.

April’s rescue page – have you got room?

Our rescue page has been updated for April and features two rescues, Windwhistle Warren in Gloucestershire and Little Angels Rescue in Essex http://www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rwf/?section=rescues.html In addition, we feature two further rescues in this message, and a further case where a private person has come to the rescue of bunnies about to be dumped.

We start with a request for a very special personor family to adopt a special needs bunny and his bondmate.

The Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary has a rabbit section and recently two rabbits were handed in, one of them, Rory, had a problem which affected his movement, which the vet later confirmed as a broken back. This has been confirmed by a second veterinary opinion. Because of this, as you can guess, Rory is a special needs rabbit, and needs a home where people will be able to offer him the time and commitment he needs, and will also be able to offer his friend Rosie a home, as they are both very attached to each other.

We know that because of his special needs, Rory will need a special home, and know that this will be hard to find, but as he is such a lovely rabbit we think that he is worth all the effort that it will take, and hope that there is someone out there who will feel the same, who will welcome this pair into their home and hearts.

Photobucket

If you feel you are the right person to take on Rory and Rosie, then please contact Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary 01865 890239, email contact@oxfordshireanimalsanctuary.org.uk or via their website http://www.oxfordshireanimalsanctuary.org.uk/

……………

Freshfields Animal Rescue is an independent rescue based in the north west. We have a non-destruction policy and prioritize stray, abandoned and abused animals. Our small animal unit houses on average 30 rabbits, 15 guinea pigs and other various small animals. All of our rabbits are neutered, vaccinated, micro chipped and health checked before they are rehomed.

We have rabbits of all ages, colours, sizes and types. Unfortunately some are harder to rehomed than others. We particularly struggle rehoming older rabbits (3+). For example Fifi and Zac are a fantastic pair of rabbits with no health problems and great personalities but because they are aged 4 and 5 they always get overlooked.

Photobucket

We also struggle to rehomed larger rabbits as most people who come to us want dwarf rabbits. An example of this is Jamie and Sylvia. They are French lops and have a really lovely temperament and cheeky attitudes and this all adds to their charm. Unfortunately because of their size many people are not willing to build a pen big enough for them and they are overlooked.
Photobucket

For more information on our rabbits and all the other animals at Freshfields Animal Rescue visit our website www.freshfieldsrescue.org.uk.

……………….

And finally, we were contacted recently by a lady who had been told by a man that he was going to turn out two ‘Nethies’ onto the street. She took them in, to find that they are in fact young large dwarf lops, harlequins. It’s likely that there’s a lot of French lop in them, given how big they already are at such a young age.

They’re only 4 or 5 months old, but because they weren’t neutered when she took them in, they began to fight and are now having to live apart from each other. The lady says

‘ They are now separated (since a couple of hours after we took them in) as they were fighting and we put them in the big runs, which meant we had to give up two runs for 2 of our bonded pairs. I would like to rehome them as house rabbits.

I have named the boys Jack (Calico) and Henry (Harlequin). Henry has amazing blue eyes. He is the gentle soul and Jack is full of energy and very friendly. Henry is also friendly but more of an introvert.’

Both are being neutered this week and they will have their VHD vaccinations next week. They are in Ely, Cambridgeshire.
Photobucket
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If you feel you can offer a home to either Jack or Henry, then please contact hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk and your mail will be passed on to the rescuer.

Rescue Fund

Please remember our Rescue Fund. We have money still available to help support the adoption of rabbits from rescue centres. Those with single rabbits who wish to adopt can apply for funding to have their existing rabbit neutered, if they have passed a homecheck by a rescue and have suitable accomodation for 2 rabbits, so they can then adopt a partner for their rabbit. Funding will be paid directly to the owner’s vet.Rescues that have a crisis situation can also apply for support from the fund. We will pay towards vet fees for neutering and vaccinations. Funds again will be paid to the vet.We’ve already given out grants totalling over £5000 to rescues and to individuals, since the fund was launched in late November. We want more of you to apply, so that more single buns will have a partner, and space will be freed up in rescues so that they can take in more needy rabbits. We want to help rescues in need.Details of how to apply can be found here http://www.houserabbit.co.uk/?section=rescue.html