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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > RESCUE EFFORTS FOR SHELTERS > Infant bunnies in a local pet shop..
Last Post by Pandorachik at 11/22/2011 2:48 PM (46 Replies)
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User is Offline Nova
220 posts Send Private Message
10/22/2011 7:54 PM

 I went into my local Pet supplies Plus yesterday to look for a heavier ceramic water bowl for my Noms. But when I walked past the buns I saw an infant rabbit, standing in his footd dish trying to eat those huge pellets. My heart sunk. I asked a million questions to three different employees and their superiors, no one knew anything about the baby bun - age, gender, breed (they tried to say it was labeled as a "mini lop" and was 6 weeks old, but it looked like a dwarf hotot and about 4 weeks old or younger and who knows how long he's been there), no idea where it came from or anything.. 

So today I contacted a local rabbit rescue and sent them a photo of the baby bun. He had crusts in his eyes, they were somewhat bloodshot.. and he was very thin and frail. He had some mushy poos in his cage and from what I could see he had dried mucous encrusted with food pellet crumbs on his nose.

I KNOW  that buns weaned too young cannot develop a proper immune system from lack of their mothers milk, so I was sure this bun was sick andneeded antibiotics.

The rabbit rescue woman told me to get him and take care of him until tomorrow where she will pick him up. I offered to foster the bun and she was all for it but I'm afraid of getting attached.


I did, even though that's perpetuating the pet mills, I couldnt sit idly by and let this baby bunny die in there.

I have him all set up in a nice sized cage from one of my former buns. He is soooo tiny. He fell asleep in my arms and i thought he died! He's so frail!

But..anyway.. As I walked out I heard the one irresponsible employee say "Ok let's go get the rest of the rabbits from the back and put them out"


I went back in - they did. I think they have an entire infant litter - well, two very tiny ones and another that does seem older and properly weaned - being displayed and handled and ready to be sold to some irresponsible person. I didnt see any signs of infection in them (yet) but they were having a hard time eating... because of their size...probably this bunny's siblings.

I told the rabbit rescue and they said they probably didnt have enough money for them (they are $35 each).....


dunno what to do. beside myself. Wish I didn't find myself in sticky situations all the time!

User is Offline LBJ10
Bunny Name Master
Forum Leader
12591 posts Send Private Message
10/22/2011 8:26 PM
Could it be that one of the rabbits at the store had babies and the store just decided to sell them? I know sometimes pet shops get some really young bunnies in, but that sounds REALLY young. Anyway, I have seen this a lot more in smaller pet stores where they "accidentally" have baby hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. They usually don't try to sell any of them until they are old enough, but the store you were at could just be extremely irresponsible (rather than just the normal irresponsible).

User is Offline lashkay
1548 posts Send Private Message
10/22/2011 9:30 PM
Thank you for rescuing this little frail bunny, I know he or she will be in good hands with you and/or the shelter lady. My heart goes out to those other little ones at the pet shop, probably too little to leave their mother - who may or may not be there as well - and temporarily less fortunate than the little one you rescued. Don't be hard on yourself for not being able to rescue the others. One can only do so much. You did a LOT in making a difference for this little frail bunny, now probably with a full tummy thanks to you, and you can give yourself a big hug for that. $35 is a lot. I paid $30 for my bunny I got from a responsible pet shop and that was back in 1992. My little Lash was well over 8 weeks though when her breeder brought her in and was used to eating good pellets. Making a difference in one bunny's life and future is A LOT, maybe the shelter you are working with for this little one, will find a way to rescue the other 2, maybe not. Just focus on the welfare of this little one, like you are doing. We'll say a prayer that the others will be all right, which they may. HUGS to you.

User is Offline bunnyfriend
2372 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2011 5:28 AM
This is awful ): That little bunny is so lucky to be rescued by you. Did you tell the people at the pet store that they were too young? Maybe you could talk to the manager and convince him/her that it would be best for them to be with their mom or special care and attention. I just don't understand how somebody could just not care for the sake of getting money ):
RIP Tigger          RIP Wilbur           RIP Totoro

User is Offline Sam and Lady's Human
2007 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2011 8:21 PM
That's so sad, I would have had a few words. I wish there was someone you could call, isn't it illegal to sell younger than 6 weeks?

User is Offline Nova
220 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2011 8:59 PM
Thank you for the support.

I hope it is illegal to sell younger than 6 wks because I met with the Rabbit Rescue owner tonight. I decided to keep the bunny because he perked up today and has been eating pellets and hay, drinking out of a water bowl, and is now pooping and peeing normally. His discharge from his nose also stopped, but I am still taking him to the vet tomorrow for a thorough checkup.

She said he looked about 4 weeks old (and he is a boy).

She said it was good that I keep him, so that first thing in the morning she is going to get some of the other baby buns... but doesn'tknow if she can afford all of them, so I am going to help her with the money.

She said she has gotten into shouting matches with that store because they often let animals die right there, they abuse them, and THEY had the audacity to file a lawsuit against *her* for harassment! So I am going to help her the best I can...

Right now I'm worried because the baby keeps trying to suckle on my hands and fingers. Should I try goat's milk? He has teeth for sure and he has been eating pellets and hay (alfala pellets, gotta get him some alfalfa hay tomorrow - alfalfa is better for baby rabbits, the rabbit rescue owner says)
But I'm worried about him trying to suckle....

User is Offline Sam and Lady's Human
2007 posts Send Private Message
10/23/2011 9:58 PM
He's trying to suckle because he's so young, poor thing. I've heard of people giving kitten milk replacer that's sold at pet stores with a syringe once or twice a day. Let us know what the vet says! And I would love to see pics!

User is Offline Beka27
Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
16043 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 1:47 AM
Poor little guy. Thank you for getting him out of there.

Unfortunately, you've seen the cycle first-hand. As soon as one is bought, it is quickly replaced by more. I wonder what their reasoning is for keeping the others in the back... maybe so the OBVIOUSLY sick bunny would pull on someone's heart-strings and get bought first, so the healthy ones could be brought out? They know what they're doing. They know that an animal lover will see that bunny and not be able to leave without it. Did you try to talk them down in "price" at least?
Meadow..... Photobucket ...... Max, my angel bunny

User is Offline Sarita
18886 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 3:41 AM
What I don't understand is why the rescue doesn't try to get someone with authority involved. Rescues should not pay for animals from pet stores ever...they can certainly negotiate with the owners to see if they will release them and make some kind of stipulation that they will not longer sell the animals (perhaps the rescue groups will concede to do adoption events) but buying an animal is wrong when you know the cycle continues.

It's been awhile since I've contacted APHIS which is the "animal welfare" arm of the USDA but the time that I did (and this was about 10 years ago) they only regulated breeders for cats and dogs that had permits under the USDA to breed. Here's the problem with many of these pet stores - they use local breeders who aren't covered under USDA. The vet who replied said they were working on new laws concerning all animals but at that time, they did not have any.

User is Offline bullrider76543
Joplin MO
1291 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 4:23 AM
Have you called the aminal cruelty people? Aspca I think and report the abuse? I am sick of going into pet shops and the employees know nothing about the animals they sell, and dont even care.
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User is Offline lashkay
1548 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 10:04 AM
I would wait to hear what your vet says before giving him goat's milk or kitten replaceer. There might be something better that the vet will know about. You might want to ask the vet about grinding up the pellets and mixing the powder with warm water and feeding him out of a nipple bottle made for infant pets. That way, he would be getting pellets but while able to suckle. I don't know though, so please check with your vet.

User is Offline Nova
220 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 12:16 PM

Hi gang...

I don't know why this rescue group bought the bun. I offered to buy one of the two baby buns but instead she just went up to that store and bought one of the two, told me the other looked healthy enough, though too young. Out of the two left there after I bought the first one, she bought the brown and white one which seemed very frail. The one left there is bothering me. I don't know if she found out if they had others/more in the back, either. The one left there is in a cage with an older rabbit (which is better than it being alone like the one I have was...I guess) and is obviously my bunny's sibling (they look identical).  I feel bad for both, but obviously this sibling of my bun is toooooo young.

Every time I ask the rescue owner if I could get the remaining bun from there, she kind of doesn't give me an answer.

Should I contact somewhere else? APHIs? USDA? ASPCA? both? - I'm going to look into this now - your help would be awesome

The rabbit rescue said they are often flooding the store with complaints of abuse of all their animals and neglect.
I took photos on my phone of the two remaining babies (like I said the one was taken by the rabbit rescue...) I will post them tonight if I can figure out how - new phone. I really wish this rabbit rescue would get the remaining one... Even if I could help..and get the price down...or authorities involved.. but the rescue said they think he looks not as frail as the others. I just dont know because he is obviously my baby bun's sibling.

I did try to talk to the store about the health of the bun in terms of price negotiation and they were little children running the store. Like 15 years old at most. They referred me to the store manage who seems to be on the defense a lot. He said if it's sick they won't sell it to me at all! They would just put antibiotics in the water bottle... that ALL the bunnies drink out of!

Little Baby is doing good.. He sees our new family vet on Weds. I haven't decided on a permanent name yet. the vet "OK'd" crushing up the pellets but not milk yet. I had to go get alfalfa hay too (I usually use timothy). This vet, I researched real good - is an exotic pet vet that "specializes in and prefers" rabbits. It's called Town and Country Veterinary Hospital in Howland, Ohio (about 40 min from me - I live in sharpsville PA).

Let me know what you guys think....about the remaining little baby bun.

User is Offline Sarita
18886 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 12:31 PM
You should look for laws concerning animal welfare in the city, county, and state that the pet store is in to see if they've broken any laws. You should be able to look most of that up on line.

APHIS which is federal deals mainly with those licensed breeders for USDA.

User is Offline Tipsy Bunny
Tucson, AZ
373 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 7:20 PM
If I can remember, I believe that it is actually illegal to sell young rabbits... I forgot the exact age. But in downtown Los Angeles you see this EVERYWHERE! Selling turtles smaller than 6 inches and selling extremely young rabbits.

Here is an article on the illegal selling of the unweaned baby rabbits and turtles on the LA streets.
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User is Offline Tipsy Bunny
Tucson, AZ
373 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 7:28 PM

I am not sure what state you are in, but if you scroll down to Selling of Unweaned Animals, there are some states that prohibit the sale of rabbits under the age of 2 months!
Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

User is Offline Sarita
18886 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 7:36 PM

Good info Tipsy!  I found this link from the links you provided:


User is Offline Nova
220 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 9:29 PM
Thank you! 
Those links should be VERY helpful. I'll read them in a min. 
I contacted the local humane society and while they do tend to extreme rabbit cases, they generally dismiss complaints about the pet store (they get so many, this is beyond me).  So I will likely contact a higher-up tomorrow. The rabbit rescue leader told me that she is unhappy with our local humane society at this time, and that she's in the process of finding legal representation for all of her cases, not just pet shop stuff.
My job right now is to follow up on how this pet shop handles this case. I was able to obtain the last infant rabbit there and got him safely to the rescue but now the rescue is full, and I had words with the pet shop regarding why we bought up all of these baby bunnies.
They didn't want to hear from me until I told them I am a former volnteer board director of an animal welfare group, which is true, but I haven't volunteered for any animal welfare groups in about 5 years, but they did not need to know that! So they heard me out.... I gave them a little bit of a lecture on how rabbits who were weaned too early end up just like these ones, and I pointed out the infections in their eyes and nose. 
They were quite red-faced about it and told me that they recently got bought out by some other corporation, and their "distributor" changed.... they have no control over what they receive even when they order specific aged rabbits, but they will make a note on the invoice next time to make sure the rabbits are of a near-adult age. 
I told them that I will follow up with them in a week's time to ensure that they do not display anymore infant rabbit litters, and they took me seriously, but we will see how it pans out. I also told them that if I see this again, I'll have to take further action, nothing personal against them but it's not okay and they SEEMED to understand.
In the case of these three infant rabbits, there will likely be a happy ending. The rabbit rescue team and I managed to save the last one there. So two are at the rescue shelter which is now full, and one is staying with me, 3 rabbits....wow.  We ensured none were left in the back.  There is an adolescent bun still at the pet shop, but he seemed healthy and ready to live with a family
I met a lot of special needs buns and abuse cases. *sigh* really, devastating.
Here are some photos!!!! I think you guys will do binkies over these *squee*
This one is my baby boy that I rescued! My fiance, Ryan, is holding him.

This is how his nose looked *after* I cleaned it up


This is the smallest one, the rabbit rescue managed to tangle with the pet shop to get him... He is also a baby boy, and this is the only pic I have of him, cause she rescued him early this morning - she just uploaded it to her Facebook with her phone. He was very congested and is now on antibiotics. He fits inthe palm of her hand.


This is the third and final infant bun from the pet shop, who looks very much like my little boy. You can see why I feel they are siblings. I didn't get a chance to stay long enough at the shelter to find out what gender it was, but if I had to guess, probably a girl, considering these two were boys, but I of course could be wrong. Her eyes were especially ful of crud. Green crud. She is all cleaned up now. She is very timid. Again my fiance holding her.

These are her eye cruds... I tried to rub them off with a warm, wet Q-tip, but I didn't get it all. The rabbit rescue was able to though.


User is Offline lashkay
1548 posts Send Private Message
10/24/2011 10:15 PM
They are adorable! Thank you, thank you for rescuing them - you're fantastic!! They look like they will be all right, now that they are in your good hands. I said a prayer that all the infants would be okay. 'Some'body must have heard it! Thanks for the pics, I feel much better now and I'm sure you do.

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
Forum Leader
11069 posts Send Private Message
10/25/2011 3:38 AM
I think it's wonderful that you rescued him and have taken on a cause dear to your heart.
What does concern me is the approach the Rescue person you met with has taken. If she is being called out for Harassment, then she is not handling it in a proper way legally, and I don't want to see you get in the middle of that. Also, she shouldn't have to buy their animals - that fosters the baby mill as you just saw.

I believe each town has, or has a nearby city, with Animal Control. It's a department of your local town government where an officer has the job of helping animals, picking up those who have been hurt or killed, and investigating abuse or harmful conditions. You want to contact THEM to get them to investigate and watch this particular pet store. They're the police with the right to take legal action, the Rescue is the depository where they can send the animals they help. In other words, the Rescue is the end of the process, but Animal Control is the beginning. I would go on your local city website and search for Animal Control, call them, and let them know what has been done so far. The last thiing you want is to have a pet store owner go after YOU for any trumped up charges that will cause you grief while they protect their business. The judgement of the Rescue head is questionable - don't follow her lead down a battle road that will not help. Go the legal route and follow rules so you can really make a difference.
SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

User is Offline Sarita
18886 posts Send Private Message
10/25/2011 3:44 AM
I totally agree with Pam. Definitely read up on the laws that Tipsy posted and contact the correct agency for help.
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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > RESCUE EFFORTS FOR SHELTERS > Infant bunnies in a local pet shop..

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