Kingston Animal Rescue sees more than 1,000% increase in rabbit surrenders

Kingston Animal Rescue says it has seen a $1,116 increase in rabbit surrenders this year. Kingston Animal Rescue

Kingston Animal Rescue (KAR) is dealing with a surprising amount of “pet regret” after seeing a 1,116 per cent increase in rabbit returns.

KAR is a charity based in Kingston, Ont., a primarily volunteer-run organization that specializes in rabbits.

The organization says the recent surge of surrendered animals is due to a spike in pet adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to KAR, an average of 12 rabbits per year were surrendered from 2018 to 2020, but last year alone they received 146, with another 40 in the last three weeks alone. The organization is currently caring for 24 rabbits and adopted out 17 last year to new homes.

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“We started the rescue out of a love for rabbits and knowing how very misunderstood they are. Rabbits are high-need animals, requiring as much care as a dog or cat. They can live 10+ years, should not be kept in small cages, need to be spayed or neutered, and see a vet regularly,” said Jessica Hellard, co-founder of KAR. “And they really can breed quickly, leading to a population explosion in a short period. We want to help as many rabbits as we can, but the current demand is overwhelming,” she added.

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It hopes the public can help the situation by fostering a rabbit, or by donating funds. KAR says it costs $446 to spay a rabbit.

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