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.

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

B.C. Health Minister announces plan for new hospital in Terrace

“This means more beds, a level three trauma centre, better surgery and better care,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.

B.C. Family Day to move to third week in February next year

Premier John Horgan said the move is to better align the holiday with businesses and families

B.C. to increase minimum wage to $15.20/hour in 2021

Premier John Horgan says next increase will come in June

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Most Read