Ad-hop-tion plea for Bun Affleck and friends
A rescue rabbit called Bun Affleck is hoping to find his leading lady in time for Christmas.
The three-year-old albino bunny is one of 36 rabbits that staff and fosterers at the RSPCA’s Newbrook Farm Animal Centre in Birmingham are looking after.
Fifteen of them, including Bun, were rescued by the animal welfare charity from a house in Rhondda Cynon Taf in July, after they were discovered living in wire mesh cages without access to bedding, environmental enrichment or suitable protection from the weather.
Three of the females were later found to be pregnant and subsequently gave birth to 21 babies between them.
Their owner, who had also failed to provide appropriate veterinary care for the rabbits, who were suffering from conditions including conjunctivitis, dermatitis, lameness and neurological disease, was prosecuted by the RSPCA and given a three-year ban on keeping rabbits.
Having received little handling prior to coming into rescue, it has taken months of care and patience by RSPCA staff and foster carers to build up the rabbits’ confidence and get them ready to start new lives with loving owners.
Two have already been rehomed and a further ten are now ready for adoption; the remaining rabbits will also be available once they have been neutered.
Emma Finnimore, cattery supervisor at the centre, said: “We initially took in 15 rabbits which had led a pretty miserable life in barren cages with little human contact or socialisation. That number then increased dramatically when we discovered that three of the females were pregnant and subsequently gave birth to 21 babies.
“Our wonderful foster carers have been looking after the mums and babies and have played a crucial role in their care and socialisation. The whole group have come on in leaps and bounds and really deserve to find lovely new homes.”
The centre relies heavily on foster homes and is always looking for more people who would be interested in this role.
As well as Bun Affleck, a number of his friends are also looking for new homes:
Maddie and Marilyn Bunroe
Following her rescue, three-year-old Marilyn was found to be pregnant and gave birth to eight babies. She’s formed a particular close bond with her only daughter, Maddie, so the pair are looking for a new home together. It’s clear Marilyn hadn’t been handled and she can/will panic. But once settled, she enjoys being groomed, fussed and binkying around with her baby. Three-month-old Maddie is still young, but getting better with regular handling. They could be rehomed to a family with older primary school-aged children, provided there is adult supervision.
Three-year-old Chelsea loves to sleep all day in her litter tray and then have some fuss or a cuddle. It doesn't take long until she is fully relaxed and begins to fall asleep. She doesn’t enjoy being picked up and will stomp and grunt at you, although this just adds to her personality! Chelsea had a litter of babies in rescue and has now been neutered. She would best suit a home with secondary aged children (if any) and could also live with a friendly male bunny, providing the introduction is done correctly and slowly.
Mitch, Mason, Marshall and Malcolm
This litter of friendly and inquisitive three-month-old boys were born at the animal centre after one of the rescued female rabbits was found to be pregnant. All of them enjoy a gentle fuss and pottering around for tasty vegetable treats. As long as there is adult supervision to continue their handling, they could be rehomed - in pairs - with young children.
Last December, the RSPCA still received one call every minute, one report of an abandoned animal every hour, and took 70 rescue animals into RSPCA care every day* - despite England and Wales having strict restrictions in place.
With 3,004** abandonment incidents in England and Wales last winter***,1,018 of those during the month of December alone, the charity fears that rising abandonment rates will see more animals facing a bleak winter.
In recent months, abandonments have risen by around 20 per cent compared to 2020 figures and the charity is worried that soaring pet ownership during the pandemic could mean a surge of abandoned dogs and cats as people return to normal working life.
The RSPCA is the only charity with rescue teams out saving all types of neglected and abandoned animals across England and Wales this festive season. It will cost £245 a day to keep a frontline rescuer on the road this Christmas - please Join the Christmas Rescue and help bring them to safety.