Three pet rabbits are being treated after they were abandoned in a “filthy” cage on Easter Monday.
The female bunnies were dumped in woodland in West Yorkshire and were found at around 8pm by a dog walker in woods off Manchester Road – between Marsden and Slaithwaite.
Two of the rabbits were underweight and had visible fur loss and urine-soaked paws.
The dog walker took the animals home and gave them fresh bedding before they were collected the following morning by the RSPCA and taken for veterinary treatment.
The incident comes as the RSPCA and other welfare organizations grapple with a “rabbit crisis” – where animal centers are struggling to cope with a huge influx of rabbits caused by the cost-of-living crisis and excessive breeding.
With no space in the local area for rabbits at any RSPCA facilities, the trio are now being privately boarded by the charity until room becomes available and they can be re-homed.
Emmeline Myall, RSPCA animal rescue officer, said: “They’re now receiving ongoing treatment for their skin, as well as lots of TLC, and we’re hopeful they’ll go on to make a good recovery.
“This incident demonstrates the complexities involved in caring for rabbits and we’d urge people who are thinking about getting them as pets to consider the time and cost implications.
Last year the RSPCA saw a huge 48 percent increase in the numbers of rabbits arriving at its animal centers compared to 2021. But while the intake of rabbits has surged, rehoming rates have fallen by 42 per cent compared to before the Coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Myall added: “They are one of the most neglected pets in Britain and we need to end the misconception that they are ideal ‘starter’ pets and are somehow easier than cats and dogs.
“They need so much more than just a hutch at the end of the garden and are very complex animals with needs for company, stimulation and exercise. They also have long life spans of around 8 to 12 years so they are a big commitment for any family.”
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