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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Concern About a Rabbit
Last Post by BeccaLovesMichy at 11/20/2012 8:07 AM (132 Replies)
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User is Offline BeccaLovesMichy
52 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 4:20 AM

Hello Community,

 

I do not, nor have i ever, owned a rabbit.  i had a guinea pig when i was little and of course lots of cats and dogs.  i have been researching proper bunny care lately and here's why:  i am watching a 10 year old girl after school for the past month or so.  she got a bunny as a pet (added to an already full apartment of 1 dog 2 cats!) FOR EASTER.  the problem is this rabbit is being NEGLECTED!!  i don't know what to do other than sharing my new knowledge with the girl in hopes she might listen, but it's a bad situation.  her mom is a single mom and fairly young...i heard from my sister (who works with her) that she just filed or is soon to file for bankruptcy.  this rabbit (bun bun) is currently living on their porch/balcony (i don't believe there is a way for him/her to fall down or escape...it's been since easter) with a cage that i now realize is too small placed in an open recession in the wall.  it's not a living cage- there's nothing in it but poop all over the bottom.  his food and water are kept on the porch area - he is only fed pellety rabbit food as far as i can tell.  i'm not surprised because this was obviously an indulgent purchase with no research.  i honestly think they are simply ignorant of what to do and don't care enough on top of it.  plus i am always bringing snacks for my charge as i can't see a drop of fresh produce anywhere - for the CHILD let alone the rabbit!  one time they ran out of cat food and were giving them giant dog food bits for a few days.  it's a total mess, but i am just the part-time after school sitter.  i can't fix their financial situation...i can't really order them to surrender their bunny.  i had nightmares about this bunny's welfare, it's really eating at my conscience.   i was thinking i could try implementing some homemade utilities like a cardboard litterbox with newspaper?  would that work?  bun doesn't even have a chewing apparatus - he was chewing a wooden chair!  i told her to give him cardboard and she says they have none...   and yes....they keep him outside at nighttime.  that probably wasn't an issue spring/summer temp wise, but it is getting cold where we live.  his sleeping area is squeezed inside the closet in a nook somewhere, but there is no actual bed for him.  i thought i could get my charge to help me clean the poop out of the cage, move it out of the closet (it's serving no purpose other than a toilet) and at least lay down blankets?  if i can't convince them to bring him in soon...though i don''t know what's worse.  at least he can move freely around the porch - that cage is NOT BIG ENOUGH!  i don't know how often they let him in to run about.  she did not rabbit-proof the room or keep him in eye line.  i was running about checking on him.

 

Does anyone have any advice?  if not what to do permanently, at least some little things i could afford to implement myself to make him any amount more comfortable.  i was going to bring some greens for him today - it says this should be introduced gradually at 3 months of age?

 

thank you all for reading,

sincerely,

Rebecca


User is Offline Roberta
Wanneroo, Western Australia
3245 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 5:35 AM
Are you in a position to offer to adopt the rabbit and do you think the Mother would be relieved and accept or be offended? That would be the best solution but people aren't always willing to admit they are not up to a task. At 3 months he will be reaching puberty and he is going to start to spray and will need to be desexed, if left he might also become aggressive especially if food is in short supply. Possibly offer to buy the bunny from them especially if the little girl does not want to spend the time with him now he is growing. He will need hay, vet care, fresh greens proper housing, grooming and room to exercise.
I am sure the others will also have some good ideas but some of them may not come back on line for a little while so don't think you are being ignore if it takes a few hours for others to respond.
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User is Offline BeccaLovesMichy
52 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 6:01 AM
thank you so much for your prompt reply! unfortunately, there's no way i could take the rabbit off their hands. i live in an apartment with my dad and dog, and i've been begging my dad to let me adopt a cat for a year. he just gets angry and he's right, i need to wait until i have my own place and enough to support myself first. i am afraid they would react in offense most likely (the mom probably WOULD be relieved though, yet offended. the kid claims to love the bunny, but honestly she seems disinterested to me.) i have no idea if it's male or female and neither does the child ("we can't tell yet cus it's too young" ???) she thinks it's a girl though... she got it for easter (which in itself would make a person ill at the thought!) so it's at least ...6 months? on top of everything else i told you, i don't think this rabbit is getting the love and socialization it needs. when she let it inside it seemed not afraid but disinterested in petting and people. it went behind the couch and tried to burrow under the carpet/wall area. i had it in my head that a delicate social creature like a rabbit may turn aggressive and weird if left in such isolation, no? i'll try my best. thank you again. if worse comes to worst i could talk them into surrendering it to a shelter nearby (or ask them advice.) there's a no-kill shelter annex in our local mall, though i know they don't accept drop-off animals (only through main shelter) they might make exception for a rabbit. i would be afraid he/she might just be euthanized if i take it to a normal shelter...

User is Offline tobyluv
South Carolina
620 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 6:04 AM
I agree with Roberta. If you are willing and able to take the bunny, you can offer to adopt or buy him and tell the owners how fond you are of him and would love to take him home with you. Or if you knew of a rabbit savvy person who actually did want a rabbit, you could mention to the owners that you have a friend who wanted a rabbit or a companion for her rabbit, and would they be willing to give or sell their bunny to this person.

You can speak about the costs involved with having rabbits and what they need for proper feeding, care and housing if you think they would listen to you and heed your advice. But if they are adamant about keeping the bunny, hopefully you can better his living conditions and provide him with good quality hay, veggies and pellets.

User is Offline tobyluv
South Carolina
620 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 6:10 AM
I just saw your post where you said you are unable to take the rabbit, so that's out, and you didn't mention knowing anyone who would provide a good home for the rabbit, so I guess that's out too. If you do know of some rescues or no kill shelters, they are a possibility, but they are often full. Rabbits don't usually fare well in regular shelters (humane societies).

If the rabbit is 6 months old, he/she can definitely have greens. You could start with romaine lettuce, or kale or parsley, or any of the dark leafy greens. There are lists of good veggies here and on the House Rabbit website.

If it is a male and 6 months old, you should be able to see testicles by now.

I know this poor bunny is a worry for you. I hope that he can go to a better home, or have his living conditions improved.

User is Offline BeccaLovesMichy
52 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 6:42 AM
thank you toby.  it's such a hard situation because i'm already using some of my dad's food stores to bring snacks for her kid!  i don't have much money either (which i why i don't have a pet of my own.)  the child has some friends who live in an apartment in the same complex.  they seem like huge animal lovers, and very thoughtful, gentle children.  they may be willing to take bun, however i'll def have to brainstorm how to bring that subject up...  i know this kind of thing happens all the time and is a huge problem, but i've never come quite so face to face with animal neglect.  i didn't even realize at first that it WAS neglect (A. i didn't know zilch about rabbits and B. i didn't want to admit to what i was really seeing.  at first i thought it was odd they keep him outside, but not until it's gotten colder and he's still out there did i really start balking.)   this kid has obviously not been raised properly and may also be being neglected in ways.  as i mentioned, they have no food in the house that i feel a child should have.  she's alone a lot (her mom works two jobs.  her dad is now in jail for neglecting his younger child from a different mother, so he is absentee... i am telling you, it's a problem on top of problems for these people.  why they keep investing in animals, i don't know...)  i saw her hit her spaniel dog on the head once and i chided her, so she doesn't have a fundamental understanding of how to treat animals from the get go.  i look forward to having my own kids so i can raise them to be responsible people.

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Forum Leader
15666 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 6:59 AM
Wow, there are so many different factors being mentioned in this thread. As stated, the major problem is that you can't take the rabbit in. Shelters are overrun and they don't typically have space, so a shelter would most likely not be an option. The only way I would bring anything up to the mother is if you were able to take the rabbit permanently, or even short-term until you could find a him new home.

I would be hesitant about providing fresh veggies since the rabbit would only be getting them sporadically, and if he reacts badly, you have no way to check up on him, and I doubt they'd take him to the vet. A better investment would be fresh grass hay, and just hope they feed it everyday.

The other option would be to talk to the mother, tell her that you think her bunny is so sweet and if they ever decide to "get rid of" him, to let you know because you'd love to have him. This plants the seed in her head that she could have an "out" if needed WITHOUT criticizing their care. When/if it happens that she's willing to surrender the rabbit to you, at that point you could take him and just "deal with" your father's annoyance; at least you'd know the rabbit was out of that situation. Maybe not the best and most honest way to go about things, but it would serve it's purpose. Then you would just need to talk to your father and explain that you're looking for a new home, etc... and that having him is just temporary. You may even find an animal lover friend who is willing to house him and you maybe split costs for the rabbit.

Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline tanlover14
3391 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 7:55 AM
This is a horrible situation -- but the bun is lucky that at least SOMEONE is making an effort to care about him/her. I would have to agree with Beka about the veggies. The most important thing for him right now is to have grass. Maybe you can also bring to the attention of the mother -- that by now, you can definitely tell whether the bun is a boy or girl and that if it's a girl she NEEDS to be spayed. Girls that aren't spayed have an 80% chance of getting uterine cancer. An added vet cost may, along with your proposal to take the bun (and find it a proper home) may be the nudge this lady needs to get the bun out of her care.

It's so sad when animals aren't being cared for properly...
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User is Offline Sam and Lady's Human
2006 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 8:35 AM
Wow there is a lot, so I'm only going to touch on the bunny part.

I know its not an option to bring her home, but have you talked to your parents about it? What would they think of you fostering and searching for a new home with the promise of dropping it off at a shelter after say, 4 months if you can't find one? That way it does give the bunny a chance, as a minor it teaches you some responsibility without putting much on your parents, and I'd say that it gives the rescue/shelter a couple months to get the bunny altered, recovered along with whatever other needs it has just in time to hopefully be adopted out by easter (to again, hopefully a better home!)

User is Online LBJ10
Forum Leader
5901 posts Send Private Message
10/05/2012 6:20 PM
I like the idea of trying to find the rabbit a new home. You would need to tread carefully though, so you don't offend the mother or anything. It is possible though that she would be relieved.

In the meantime, does the rabbit have a litter box? I didn't see you mention it anywhere, but I may have missed it. The best thing that you could do for him is to create a clean place for him to sit. He needs a litter box with an appropriate litter and a clean flat surface (no litter, no mesh flooring). If you need to, you can use cardboard to cover up any mesh flooring. Can you bring cardboard from your own home? You could use it to make a little house for him too.

Having access to hay is more important than veggies. I agree with Beka about the veggies. Giving them to him here and there isn't a good idea. Plus I would worry about him getting used to all this great stuff, only to have it suddenly disappear if you were no longer looking after this girl.

User is Offline BeccaLovesMichy
52 posts Send Private Message
10/06/2012 1:59 AM
thanks for all the replies everyone. yesterday actually i got up the gumption to say something to the kid, though unfortunately she was already in a very grumpy mood. she seemed unresponsive about it and a bit defensive. but then without saying anything she grabbed her poop shovel and headed onto the porch to clean up his area. i helped her (a lot. there was so much poop. and a blanket drenched in poop and pee. we ended up tossing most of it over the balcony to throw away, thank glob.) it was a lot of work - the floor is like a wooden barn floor so it's hard to wash. we got rid of the cage (she said it was an old puppy cage and they had another one downstairs) and filled the area with a soft blanket. i used a shoebox with newspaper in it and put a bit of her poop in there because it's all i had and could think of. i hope she doesn't soil the blanket because there are few resources here. i examined the food and they were giving it adult rabbit food (blend of fruits, nuts, pellets and timothy hay) now they are giving it a wildlife formula with mostly seeds! it's actually FOR wild animals. poor B (the kid) finally said to me, in a defensive way, "i want her to come in, i do want her to be happy" her mom got the rabbit from some friend who has a lot of outdoor rabs and told her they could viably live outdoors! there ya go! ignorance breeds ignorance. she asked her at work if she could move the rabbit inside (i really galvanized her into action) but the mom said "the bunny is fine" ????

i think there's a little confusion about my own situation. i am not a minor. i'm living with my dad (not both parents) while i save a little money and look into graduate school...so yeah, i'm an adult. which makes the idea of sneaking a rabbit into my dad's place even worse because it's his place (after the recent stress of divorce from my mother) and i'm just living here temporarily getting help and not paying rent. he's already doing me huge favors here. it might even push him over the edge and get me kicked out. plus i don't have money to support this creature, i can't even support myself on my own. (that's why i would never get one in the first place, not right now anyway!) the mom did not seem mad when she got home and saw our changes, or that i was butting my nose in, so that's good. i'm just afraid they probably won't maintain it. i did feed the rabbit a few carrots, which he at first refused, but then ate, before i read that you don't thin k i should... i may be reading too much into it, but he showed no interest in my fresh veggies (for awhile) or piece of apple, and he rubbed on the cardboard and gnawed a bit, but then had no interest. i mostly brought it as a gnawing object. he also did not seem to WANT to come inside and run around! the advice i implored was mostly regarding how i might add a bit of care while i am there (though i guess that wouldn't help in the long run) and about addressing the issue with the mom. i can always have my sister talk to the mom as they are friends. i'll keep working at it. thanks!

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Forum Leader
15666 posts Send Private Message
10/06/2012 3:01 AM
Do you have a public library nearby (and does the girl have a library card)? If you can take her to the library to pick out rabbit care "starter" books (again using HER card) that might encourage her to read about rabbits and at least get some baseline, age-appropriate knowledge. When I was young, I always enjoyed learning about different pets (this has obviously followed me into adulthood, not everyone joins pet care forums). I feel like if you could increase HER interest in the rabbit, maybe SHE could prod her mom into providing some better food, litter, etc... Worst case scenario, if you could get some inexpensive grass hay and maybe provide old newspapers and teach her to take care of the cage that would help the rabbit.

Rabbits are resilient. They *can* live outside in a protected space and they can adapt to less than ideal care. When you're on a site like BB, we are providing (and encouraging others to provide) the gold standard of rabbit care, but I know there are many more rabbits receiving much less. If you can help implement some small changes, that would at least be something.
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Area
Forum Leader
8673 posts Send Private Message
10/06/2012 8:14 PM
I think that you are handling this very well. Since you can't take the bunny in yourself (and doubt they would give the bunny up anyway right now --- but don't be surprised that in a year from now, that if things don't change, they'll be looking for an out.). But right now, the best thing you can do is do what you are doing and little by little begin to offer more and more help. I was in a similar situation with client of my husband's and I had to proceed carefully.

Could you print out some pages from the net? You can use this site, or rabbit.org (if you haven't seen that site -it's a great resource)

This is a great little booklet just for kids who are caring for bunnies http://www.sandiegorabbits.org/adop...orbook.pdf
It's meant to be a coloring book, but it doesn't have to be a coloring book -- it's just a good resource of information written FOR KIDS.

Just ease yourself in like you are doing, and hopefully slowly but surely, you will be able to provide a better life for the bunny with this family and maybe even they will form a bond. But if not, then I can almost bet that they will look at you as a resource and the day will come when they may ask if you know someone who wants a bunny, and that can be your move to help them find another home if it looks like that is going to be the best choice in the future.

Thank you for getting involved. The fact that you have never owned a rabbit, but already have some of the basics down, is wonderful. You have a big heart and maybe both the bunny and the child will benefit from what you have to offer this situation.

User is Offline BeccaLovesMichy
52 posts Send Private Message
10/08/2012 11:52 AM

Thank you Beka and BB, your replies were very helpful (and also very sweet!)  I have some good news on this front.  Since being gone over the weekend, the rabbit used the makeshift litterbox that we put in his closet area!!  i was so excited, i honestly thought i'd find a totally soiled blanket.  the only problem was i didn't have much paper to put in it and the urine soaked through the box...  i also let bun out to run around and was discouraged that indoors, he pooped and peed outside of the litterbox/newspaper area i set up.  i figure he just doesn't think of it as his home turf so he doesn't know where to go.  the second time though, he pooped AND peed on the paper!  i was so proud.  but then he pooped off the paper again...  do you think he gets the concept?  or maybe going on the paper was not intentional.  same issue though of the pee soaking through the paper into the carpet.  and the pee smells awful - the poop is actually so easy to clean up, not messy or smelly at all.  it's just he poops so much.  i'll get it all cleaned up and then he does more!  that's herbivores for you i guess. 

 

i laid down the facts with the kid and i told her "if your mom refuses to let him in for the winter, you need to see if you can find someone to take him in."  i told her he probably would die if left out in winter...maybe that was a bit harsh, but she needs to be galvanized soon.  it was very cold today, in the forties/fifties, and it's only october.  she assured me she wouldn't let that happen, though she also said her mom told her the bunny could not come inside even when it becomes winter...that was shocking to me, as this lady is a good person at heart and i know she loves her other animals.  i'm thinking that  the mom doesn't think of a pet rabbit as equivalent to a dog or cat - in terms of needs and care and love.   she thinks "the bunny is fine."  all it takes is a simple google search!  the mom says the rabbit smells bad and wouldn't use a litter box inside (she probably was trying to get it to use the catbox, i would suspect.) 

 

i'm happy though because the rabbit has really perked up a lot.  he seems to want to hang out around us and is running around more, having a good time, likes to interact with the cat and dog.  he kept trying to chew on my boot (that i was wearing at the time!) he does this funny thing where he jumps and spasmodically kicks his legs (i was assuming it's just a cute quirk and not an indication of injury.)  i think i'm starting to love him actually   do you guys have advice on the pee front?  just more newspaper?  i went around to neighbors with her to find old newspaper and it wasn't very lucrative.  i bet puppy pee pads would be effective, but that would require buying some!  she was talking about clearing out her closet and keeping him in there for winter, which i guess is better than naught, though could lead to a ruined carpet and destruction, right?


User is Offline BeccaLovesMichy
52 posts Send Private Message
10/08/2012 12:04 PM
beka, is there a suggestion for where to purchase cheap grass hay?  also, thank you for your advice, it's already working.  B seems very perked up on the subject of her rabbit - she was practically begging me to take her around asking for newspaper and suggesting ways to keep him inside.  she seems to be absorbing the info i share very well.  i think there's just been a little misguidance in how she has grown up (she was wanting to buy stuff she doesn't need from a jewelry shop and a new sparkly wallet, even though rabbit needs basic things.)  she doesn't know how to put more important things ahead of her extraneous wants.  plus i don't think her mom has explained their financial situation to her very well, because the kid seems to have a big spender kind of attitude....

User is Offline zoologist
Orlando, Fl
268 posts Send Private Message
10/08/2012 12:39 PM
When a bunny jumps and spasmodically kicks its legs in the air we call that a binky. It means that the bunny is SUPER happy! It's an awesome thing when they binky
-Jessy

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User is Offline BeccaLovesMichy
52 posts Send Private Message
10/08/2012 1:56 PM
ha!  i had no idea!  so that's where the binky bunny name comes from...that only makes it that much more adorable   it also kind of makes my heart feel warm that i may have contributed to his binky

User is Offline IsabellaRobyn
Scotland
526 posts Send Private Message
10/08/2012 2:58 PM
I've been following this thread and I'm so glad you are helping them out. Sometimes I wish you could just slap people in the face and tell them what they are doing is basically neglecting their animals! If I were you I would be giving her a real telling but I understand that you're not really in the position to do that. I'll keep reading all your updates! Sounds like some good stuff is happening on your end if the little one is doing binkies and everything!
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User is Offline Roberta
Wanneroo, Western Australia
3245 posts Send Private Message
10/08/2012 3:24 PM
Personally I find the Free Local Newspaper on the racks in the local shopping centre is an excellent source of paper. I usually lurk through on Saturday and grab a fist full. Next time you are out and about check out the corner shops, malls etc. There is usually a free news publication of some sort that no one will object to you taking a dozen copies or so. The pee'ing is possibly an age and or territory thing. Note the spot he does it most and put the litter tray there and see if he uses it more often.
As to the girl, well, I think any little girl with cash to burn and an eye for bling is always going to put the shiny pretty stuff first but eventually you might be able to get her to split the priority. It would be especially difficult if she is not use to having much and considers these sorts of comfort acquisitions as a way of improving her life. (We've all been there)
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User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
Forum Leader
11672 posts Send Private Message
10/09/2012 1:03 AM
I just want to chime in that I think it's wonderful that you are so concerned and trying to improve this bunny's situation. They need us to stand up for them!
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless
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