The Scottish SPCA is urging Falkirk pet lovers not to buy anyone a real rabbit as an Easter gift, for fear of new surge in abandoned bunnies.
The charity rehomed no less than 314 rabbits last year, but this Easter won’t be dealing with any.
Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre Superintendent Sharon Comrie said, “They’re often bought as pets for children, who quickly get bored as the novelty of having a pet wears off.
“There are lots of loving rabbit owners who treat their pets like one of the family and give them all the care and attention they need, but sadly this isn’t true in all cases”.
She added: “The biggest issue is rabbits being put in a hutch and left at the bottom of the garden, with many enduring a life of solitude and boredom.
“We have come across many cases where rabbits have been left with horrifically overgrown teeth and nails. “Rabbits need hay to gnaw on to keep their teeth in good condition, as well as regular nail trimming.
“They also need plenty of toys and tunnels to keep them occupied and ideally, rabbits should be bonded with a companion - but where this isn’t possible they’ll need enough human contact to keep them stimulated.
“Rabbits are highly intelligent and sociable animals who can make fantastic family pets, though we strongly advise parents that they and not their children need to take responsibility for their welfare.
“People should not buy rabbits on impulse and should make an informed decision by learning about rabbit care first.”
“Pets are not toys and should never be given on a whim, however you may want to consider sponsoring a space – and give the gift of caring for a number of rabbits in our care by helping to cover the costs of food and vet treatment year round.”
You can find out more about rehoming and sponsoring a space at www.scottishspca.org