I've been doing
rabbit rescue work and advocacy for many years now. So many rabbits, each
with a different story. They've all impacted my life and for this I'm
grateful. It was Flopsy, my first "real" rescue from a local petting zoo,
that motivated me to help the countless numbers of neglected, abused, and
abandoned of our society. The magnitude of man's inhumanity is staggering.
Carmina Gooch, rabbit
advocate & rescuer
Founder, Rabbit Advocacy
Group of BC
taking action to make a
Dedicated to elevating and
addressing the plight of rabbits in our society. Exploited for the
fur, wool, meat, research, and pet industries their lives don't seem to be of any
significance. The larger, established animal welfare organizations, when
"speaking" for companion animals, often "speak" for dogs and cats only.
Rabbits matter, and are worthy of an equally strong voice. We strive
to be that voice. Compassion, respect, and justice for those with no
With our eyes they will
- With our voice they will
- With our hands they will
- And with our action they
will be set free.
"A fresh obligation is laid on each of us to do
as much good as we possibly can to all creatures in all sorts of circumstances."
"Compassion, in which all ethics
must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all
living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind." Albert Schweitzer
"The question is not ĎCan they reason, nor can
they talk, but can they suffer?í"
Just a few
photos of the many who came into, and touched our lives
Flopsy Doogie & Rusty
Cornel Matlock & Pringle
Some of our rescue family
enjoying a bit of relaxation. They were all homeless; victims of our
NS Outlook spotlights
Bunny advocate write-up in local
Shelters, rescue groups, and pounds
are overflowing with unwanted rabbits. Give them a second
chance. Rabbits are not low maintenance pets and can live 10
years or more.
Rabbit Advocacy does not support the
renting out of any animal, under the pretext that it promotes
adoption. Make no mistake, it does not. Itís a money-making
scheme, perpetuating the notion that living beings are mere
Oryctolagus cuniculus or European Rabbit. Our domesticated
rabbit breeds of today are descendants from the wild rabbits of
Western Europe. The species name means "rabbit who burrows."
- A good source of
information on domestic rabbits and their care is the
- Translated in
Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese
You can help transport needy bunnies to safety
by joining the
RabbitWise Bunderground Railroad.(USA)
March 2013 BC SPCA
launches new animal abuse hotline Anyone with information about a
suspected case of animal cruelty is asked to call the new
itís outside of office hours or an emergency call your local
police department or the RCMP. BE PERSISTENT. The animals need
See something? Say
something. Do something.
May 6, 2015
The BC SPCA has created a provincial pet identification registry to
link missing companion animals with their guardians. For information
All animals deserve our
protection, no matter how we categorize them. Whether they be
wildlife, strays, pets, or farm, it is our duty to speak up and take
action on their behalf. REPORT SITUATIONS OF CONCERN TO
ANIMAL ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS & AUTHORITIES. NOTE: THE SPCA IS
NOT AN ANIMAL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION.
abandonment is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of
Canada & an offence under B.C.ís Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Act. It is illegal, immoral, and cruel. As it stands now, the
perpetrators know it's likely they'll never be apprehended & face
the courts. Letís correct this wrong!
Animal Cruelty: Understanding the Problem
Animal Neglect: Frequently Asked Questions
FBI to Start Tracking Animal
October 13, 2015
Kelowna SPCA has
a new addition to its facility, a
Recovery and Adoption Barn.
will serve as a rehabilitation and adoption centre
for animals that have been seized in SPCA investigations around the
In June, it opened a veterinary hospital in
Penticton. It has a
second facility in Vancouver. It also has
a spay and neuter clinic in Prince George and
by Michele, recommended by veterinarians and rescue groups.
604-320-1705. Michele is retiring in Sept. 2014, after having
provided a wonderful service to so many rabbit lovers in our
community. There is another boarding facility,
Ribbons & Hounds in Port Moody, run by Daynna Major, who
comes recommended by rabbit groups like VRRA.
Some Rabbit Breeds
Facts, misinformation on rabbit vaccines corrected by Gooch; 2018
Rabbits, Cottontails, and Hares
Poor quality of life
for most rabbits
Dogs enjoy a privileged status; the lowly rabbit
Reconsidering the rabbit in
today's society; the rabbit rental scheme; rabbit cafes disadvantageous
other illnesses; food pyramid; 2018
deadly rabbit virus hits mid-Van. Island, spreads beyond; hits lower
mainland; April 2019 RHD hits Vancouver
Island again; June 2019 in Vancouver
need to know - the pet store rabbit
Pets in need of homes; rabbits
for adoption in Black Cat White Dog
Domestic Rabbit Abandonment
Domestic Rabbit Abandonment PDF 3
Rabbit Multiplication Control
Protect your rabbit
from the weather: Heat Kills
Perpetual Care Provisions
July 2, 2013 Red
Tape: USDA Rabbit Police
We Would Have Died; "Old Bunny" poem
A Christmas Story
- Speak out against commercial
animal mills and the backyard breeding industry. Don't buy
into the cruelty!
- Take action to stop the
ruthless exploitation of pets for profits - report concerns to
local government and the BC SPCA.
- We can all make a difference.
"Our lives begin to end the
day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King, Jr
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Animals, near and far, need our help and protection now -
their lives matter equally--all of them!
Lucy came to us after we attended a rabbit show. She was a
lop, and had garnered many prizes. The breeder was getting out of the business
and just wanted to get rid of her stock.
She said her remaining rabbits were going to be sold at an auction. We took
her home, and for months she just sat in one corner. She had always been in a
cage, and didnít hop at all. Finally, she realized that it was okay and began to
enjoy life. She would hop out to the garden, sniff around, and play for awhile,
always returning to the den where she would lie down and rest. Sadly, she passed
away in my arms a few months ago, but at least she had happy times with us.
Rue & Shelby. In the summer of 1999 I was contacted by a family
in North Vancouver reporting two bunnies running around their yard. They had
been there for a few days, and needed help catching them.
I went over, and after a great deal of effort managed to get them into my car
and home. These fellows were hungry and thin, but otherwise okay. Nobody came
forward to claim them, which is predictable, as they were likely intentionally
abandoned. They were shy at first, but came around, and remained the best of
friends until their deaths late last year.
was bought from PetCetera at 6 weeks of age by a teacher who thought a rabbit
would be a good learning tool. By the end of the school year nobody wanted her
so I decided I could take yet another one.
The teacher admitted this had been a big mistake and there were many problems
associated with having an animal in the classroom. Children would taunt the
bunny, poke at her, and in general, make her life miserable. Kept in a tiny
cage, she had nowhere to escape. After she arrived in my home the signs of
trauma were obvious. This rabbit never recovered, and unfortunately died at a
very young age.
Petunia was another unwanted rabbit that ended up at the
pound. When we viewed her she lunged at the bars of the cage and grunted. After
observing her for a short time I decided to try to pick her up. Managing to do
so, I tried to calm her down, but it was apparent she was afraid.
We decided to take her anyhow, and on the way to the car she bit my husband.
Her behavior didnít improve much over the next few months but she was friendly
with a couple of other rabbits. Until her death she never trusted us completely,
and she bore the scars of previous abuse until the end.
is just one of the many rabbits that are abandoned or surrendered to pounds and
shelters because they are no longer wanted. This little bunny was being dumped
from a car near Shannon Falls.
A concerned citizen managed to catch her as the vehicle sped off. That was
one lucky rabbit. Domesticated house bunnies, dependent on food, shelter, and
love from humans, would not stand a chance of survival in the wild. Now she is
in our loving home with other rabbits that have survived similar circumstances.
There are many other bunnies like Elfin that need a second chance at life.
is a cute little Dutch that was purchased at a pet store when she was six weeks
old. In a matter of months the owner decided she was too much trouble.
She was chewing at electrical cords and didnít always use her litter pan.
This led the irate and cruel owner to abuse her, before she was rescued. When
Charlotte first came to our home she was extremely fearful and aggressive. She
didnít want to be touched and would bite. Many months of hard work and love paid
off. She made friends with other bunnies and discovered that all humans arenít
so bad. Today she gets to hop around the den, and lay on the bed, although she
continues to keep her guard up.
Cinnamon is a four year old dwarf bunny, who along with his
brother was given away at seven weeks old. The people who owned them had let
their adults mate, and didnít want to have rabbits anymore. A family took the
two young ones home in July and by September the kids were losing interest. They
were back in school, and the rabbits were put in a tiny enclosure in the
A neighbour contacted me during the winter, informing me that Cinnamonís
brother had frozen to death and the people were moving. If nobody wanted
Cinnamon in the next few days he was to be let loose. Of course I took him and
he has enjoyed life with his bunny pals and us for the last three years.
Sara had been brought to the SPCA at approximately 3 years
of age. She had never been let out of her cage and was severely overweight. We
took her home and set up a room where she could freely move about. However, she
had resigned herself to a life of quiet desperation, and never overcame her
past. One evening she just slipped away peacefully in my arms.
Nellie was used for breeding purposes in Cloverdale. She had
already had several litters when we purchased her. I asked the woman what
happened to the rabbits that didnít find homes. She said they were released on
the property and after awhile just "disappeared." Although there was no real
demand for rabbits, she kept at it for several years, until the family got a
dog, and decided it might be an idea to breed her.
was struck by a car and fortunately somebody witnessed the incident and brought
her to a veterinarian. She received good medical care for her injuries but
while recuperating it was discovered that she had a number of pre-existing
health troubles as well. Despite different medications and a nutritious diet
it was apparent that she wasnít going to last very long. She passed away
quietly and in comfort.
by pure chance that a truck driver made a delivery to a rural property where he
noticed some baby rabbits kept in tiny cages behind the house. Two of them had
dried blood on their fur and one had something wrong with his hind leg. Upon
inquiry the owner/breeder said they'd probably been fighting. After some
discussion it was agreed that the driver could take the rabbits. He said he
wouldn't make any money off them, anyway. A visit to our vet confirmed that
both would be okay and that the male had likely been attacked and the leg
broken. It was still tender but about 90% healed. Nowadays Conley
navigates about just fine, despite the one unviable hind leg.
In memory of Mopsy
Born to feed the pet industry
and sold out as a classroom teaching tool, that was Mopsy's beginning. In her
too brief time here on Earth her innocence and wonder at exploring a new world
By the time she entered my
life, at six months or so, she was so traumatized by human approach that she
would dart madly about, and do anything she could to try to escape. In the two
years that she shared with me she became more trusting, but never fully
recovered from whatever past experiences she had endured.
I'm so very thankful for all
the moments we shared, she was truly a gift and a star but on Thursday, 11:20
a.m. it was time for her to leave for the
You are loved, Mopsy. You'll be
with me forever. Carmina, March 2007
Kennedy - there would
be no road to recovery
His story is one, yet it
represents thousands more. Left outside in a cage, ignored and neglected, the
days turned into weeks, and then into months. Maybe even a couple of years, it
was hard to know. By the time he was rescued his body was just a shell of what
it should be. But Kennedy was a rabbit with dignity, and although his health was
poor, and he could only take a few hops at a time, he had accepted his broken
life without bitterness. There would be no road to recovery, but there was one
small miracle, twelve weeks of quality time and comforts, of new friendships,
and a place to call home.
now taken his final bow. I'm just so sorry I couldn't do more. Good night, Mr.
And in his memory:
If I can stop one heart from
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
A Matter of Inconvenience
These three little rabbits, one
male (the grey one) and two females were bought at an auction by a couple for
their ten year old daughter. They hadnít been altered and one of the females
had already had a litter before we were called. Those were given away. The
family was moving and said it was too inconvenient to take them. The bunnies
were all under a year old and had been kept in tiny cages on the patio. Today
they spend their time enjoying the good life with other new friends.
Rescue from the SPCA
- Darby was rescued from one of the BC
SPCA's branches. After speaking with several volunteers on my initial
visit I was told that she was a biter and had already bitten somebody.
A warning tag had been placed on her cage. After some discussion I
suggested that the tag be removed and replaced with friendlier wording.
When I returned several days later the tag was still there, and a
different volunteer confirmed that she "bites hard." I decided to
remove the note myself and spoke with a staff member who strongly
suggested that if I was interested in her that I fill out an "adoption
application." The following day I received a call from an insider
saying it was "that time again" and to get over as quickly as I could.
I did. Luckily for Darby.
features free classified advertising and has become very popular for those
wishing to rehome their pets. Very often these pets are given away for any
number of reasons and in the case of Pearl she was bought from Petcetera
as a baby and became unwanted after just three months. Apparently the little
girl had lost interest and the parents had enough to do with breeding rats for
several of their snakes. When I went to pick up the rabbit I was offered some
of the rats as well. Today Pearl is still frightened from whatever past
experiences she had endured and does her best to avoid human contact. There has
been some progress in that she will come for her treats when I step away.
- Benson had been surrendered to a local branch
of the SPCA after he was no longer wanted. Evidently the kids grew tired
of cleaning the cage and he just didn't live up to expectations. This is an
all too familiar story, and the sad outcome of many a pet store rabbit
bought on impulse as a live toy to amuse the children. Benson spent many
happy years with us, just doing what rabbits do, until circumstances
sadly forced us to make the decision to have him euthanized.
Marvin and Tasha were both saved from the
SPCA where perfectly healthy, non-aggressive, and rehomeable pets are
being put down. While the BC SPCA should be providing a leadership role
in animal welfare, it's not the case. The small rescue/advocacy groups
are doing the real work, and sadly, on many occasions have had to go in
and buy out animals that were going to be killed. Rabbits under threat
of "euthanasia" or quietly disposed of, because of "no other options" is
not 21st Century "speaking for animals." Fortunately, these two made it
out, and into a wonderful home together.
We never got the real story
on Alfred and Albert when they were surrendered by their
owners, but the opinion of our veterinarian was that their deformities were
congenital. Discussions ensued with other professionals and those within
the animal welfare field as to options for these two youngsters and a
prognosis for quality of life. They could only propel themselves short
distances and couldn't raise their bodies at all. Although they enjoyed
their meals and seemed accepting of their limitations, it just didn't seem
humane for this to continue. It was terribly heart-wrenching to make the
decision to euthanize, but we all agreed that this was one of those times we
had to let go.
- Rest In Peace, little fellas.
Carter and his friend,
Alma, were among the 30+ rabbits existing in filthy, cramped cages at the
back of a rural property, rented by tenants who had been given notice to evict.
When volunteers went to look at the place they found that some of the
rabbits were in need of immediate medical attention, others had old wounds, some
exhibited a fear aggression, and others were simply afraid. Carter has one ear
and Alma has maloccluted teeth but that doesn't seem to bother them one bit.
They've adjusted to their new home, with all the comforts they deserve, and are
quite the characters.
of 2006 the North Vancouver District Animal Welfare Shelter received a call
regarding some rabbits that a resident had let loose in the neighbourhood.
A coordinated effort was launched to round them up and in days we had several on
our hands. During the course of several months one was struck and killed by
a vehicle and another was attacked and killed by a dog. The others were caught.
However, within days of being brought to the shelter two of the bunnies gave
birth. We brought Rhonda,
the black and white one home with us. She had two stillborn kits and two others
that she was ignoring. Sadly, they died after just three days.
cream-coloured bunny, had seven kits, four of which survived.
the father and daughter who let the rabbits roam, despite trying to have them
held accountable, they "adopted" one of their rabbits back and made a small
donation to the shelter for the care of the others. Pet abandonment is
were contacted by another rescue group asking if we could speak to a woman
wishing to surrender two young rabbits. We called, and she said that several
months earlier the family had gone to an auction and purchased the two bunnies
for the kids. Predictably, they grew tired of caring for the pets and she
didn't have time, either. She went on to say that the female gave birth to a
couple of kits which a pet store was willing to take. She'd exhausted every
other avenue for the adults and as she was going on a business trip the
following week was desperate for a home. Otherwise they were going to be
brought back to the auction. We made arrangements to have them spayed and
neutered and brought to our sanctuary. We were willing to adopt them out but in
over a year never received any interest. Amy and Sparky are now
permanent residents with us.
had been at a local branch of the SPCA when a rescue group was asked if they
would take her. There was a good chance that she would be killed if she wasn't
so arrangements were made to have her transferred out. We were then contacted
and agreed to take care of her. She had what appeared to be a respiratory tract
infection but tests were inconclusive. Antibiotics were ineffective. She also
had a tumor near her heart and over the next while began having seizures and
then a stroke. Despite everything, she was a happy bunny and was always excited
to see us. However, her health worsened until one evening we made the painful
trip to the vet clinic to have her 'put to sleep'. It never gets easier.
(Left: Penny Right: Penny & her friend Sage)
Summer Rescue 2006
- In the
summer of 2006 I received a call regarding four domestic rabbits who had
been dumped in a works yard adjacent to a bottle depot. I managed to catch
them all by enticing them with carrots. The adult male's fur was sticky and
urine stained, and all were skittish and scared. It took several months
before they settled down but now they're enjoying themselves as part of our
Baby bunnies dumped - July 2007
Today was no different than many other days in the past. I received a call
regarding a sighting of dumped baby rabbits and was asked if I could go take a
look at the situation.
kind family had been looking after a little rabbit named April and her
friend Niblet when they contacted us for help. The previous 'owner' had been
providing inadequate and sporadic care for these two, and April had an ongoing
problem with an abscess on her jaw. According to the vet she also had dental
problems and because of her age, which was estimated to be 7-8 years surgery was
not recommended. A tube was inserted to drain the pus and a course of
antibiotics prescribed. We covered the cost of the bill and are happy to report
that April is now doing well and receiving proper care.
abandonment in Pemberton Heights
a typical story. Owners of a couple of unsterilized pet rabbits decided
to move and left them behind. Soon the neighbourhood was full of baby
rabbits, the population increasing and decreasing over several years as
some were hit and killed by cars and others taken by predators. It's
not an easy life abandoned to the outdoors and most don't last long.
When a litter of kits was born underneath a backyard shed, we were
contacted by the homeowner. He thought these ones would have a better
chance of survival if we could move them to a safer area, adopt them, or
bring them to our local shelter. After some deliberation we had them
placed in a foster home and at four months (bit early) they were sterilized. These
bunnies weren't what we considered adoptable and it was agreed to move
them to a small sanctuary outside of North Vancouver. There they enjoy
a peaceful life with other rescued little critters. Over time the
situation in Pemberton Heights seems to be in check.
one of my routine checks of the rabbits at the Vancouver SPCA I noticed a
little fellow running nonstop back and forth in his cage. Another woman and
her daughter were also watching him. We started talking and she said they
had a female rabbit who needed company. I told her that this bunny wasn't
neutered and her response was she wanted her daughter to experience the
"miracle of birth." My attempts to enlighten her as to the plight of
unwanted rabbits appeared to fall on deaf ears. However, her daughter was
somewhat receptive and said that maybe they should think about it. Once
they left I immediately got Scoobie out of there, had him
neutered, and brought to our home. Here he had lots of room to explore and
play with his new rabbit friends. (Left: Scoobie & Mandy Right:
Rescue & In Memory cont'd