Rabbits, some only days old, dumped in filthy cages in Outwell on Easter Monday
- Credit: Archant
Two rabbits died when 17 were dumped in filthy cages in what is being called a “heart breaking” incident in Outwell on Easter Monday.
The RSPCA is caring for 12 of the rabbits who survived, some only days old, after they were thrown in cages down a dyke, next to a road in the village.
Three ran off scared into nearby fields.
The rabbits were dumped in damaged, filthy cages which were full of old urine and faeces, with an overpowering stench.
Kathy Hornig, RSPCA animal welfare officer, said: “This is one of the most heartbreaking incidents I have been to in recent times.
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“I think it was more upsetting given that they were dumped on Easter Monday - a day when people usually celebrate the Easter bunny, not treat them in such a callous way.
“I cannot thank the members of the public enough who spotted the rabbits and then spent time trying to catch them. Once again kind-hearted people are being left to pick up the pieces because of other people’s heartless actions.
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“The eight rabbits - five female and three males - were taken in to the care of the RSPCA Peterborough and District Branch.
“Sadly none of the adult females were the mum of the four babies, which are between a week and 10 days old, so the youngsters have been taken home to a fosterer because they are still so young.
“Two of the adults had extremely long teeth, which had been left untreated, so they will require some veterinary equipment.”
The incident was reported in Chalk Road, Outwell, just before 10am.
Kathy said: “I would appeal to anyone who may have been in the area or seen anyone acting suspiciously to contact me. I would also like to hear from anyone who may know of someone who had such a large number of rabbits and now they don’t. Please call me on the RSPCA’s appeal line in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.”
The cage tops had rolled down the bottom of a grass kerb into the dyke and the two plastic bottoms were laying on the grass.
Thankfully a member of the public discovered the cages and the rabbits and spent a large amount of time catching them. They confined the rabbits at their home before the RSPCA arrived.
Three rabbits were too nervous and agile to be caught and ran off from the location where they were dumped.
Figures show that the RSPCA has seen around 800 abandonment complaints for rabbits each year. So far in 2018 there have been 198 rabbits abandoned since January.
Kathy said that rabbits are arguably one of the most neglected pets in Britain despite being much-loved by many.
“Loving pet owners will understand a rabbits complex needs, but unfortunately some of the common misconceptions about housing and diet are still prevalent today,” she said.
“Sadly it could be this lack of knowledge about their needs which leads to so many rabbits being abandoned and coming into our care.
“Bunnies may look cute but their needs are very complex and it’s important to do lots of research before buying or adopting pet rabbits to ensure that you can meet all their needs.”
• In 2017, the RSPCA investigated 2,428 complaints of neglect about rabbits and more than 2,000 bunnies were rescued by them last year.