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Last Post by BunnyHugger at 11/01/2014 3:13 PM (5 Replies)
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User is Offline BunnyHugger
82 posts Send Private Message
10/29/2014 3:47 PM
I'm unsure as to how to approach a local rescue. We have an immense need for bunny rescue in our area. Lots of animal mills and dumping of pets. I'm a rescuer myself.

This one has me stumped.

This rescue (I won't mention their name or area) takes in and rehomes a lot of bunnies. However, their website offers so much harmful advice, I could just cry. They do not require that adopters provide exercise space, they suggest bad flooring, small cages, toxic pine and cedar shavings, feeding bunnies several things as a regular diet that are high sugar and just inappropriate, e.g. lots of grains and seeds, poor advice on hay. They've got grain heads such as wheat and oats mixed up with grass seed heads such as Timothy, as if they're the same thing. All stated with great confidence.

From the tone, I detect a sort of belligerence. As if they've read all the house bunny info, and decided to be oppositional. Advice that begins with, "I know some people say that you shouldn't.....but I think that...." followed by something they simply made up. Kind of like reading religious material that makes you blink with its leaps of logic. "I believe it, therefore it's true."

The behavioral advice on the site is excellent, so I can see why people support this rescue. As well, the leader of the rescue has independent funding and therefore almost unlimited time to answer peoples' concerns. In my experience, far more people struggle with animal behavior than worry over nutrition.

To me, this is much harder to approach than simple ignorance.

I don't see the point of "rescue" if animals are just sent into further bad circumstances.

How would you approach this rescue to try to update their info? Is there a way to speak to someone who thinks they're dead right, even when they're causing harm? Do you think this is actually a type of hoarder mentality, impossible to change?
'Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem." ~A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

User is Offline Mocha
514 posts Send Private Message
10/29/2014 7:01 PM
This is a tough one.

I would start by volunteering at the rescue as much as you can (if you have time).

Get to know the people who work there and become their friend first. Do not become enemies with them or they will not listen to you at all.

Once you think they trust you, I print out some articles from a well-known source, The House Rabbit Society, and show them to them. You also need to tell them why these things are bad. Like why are grains bad, why are seeds bad, why are yougurt drops bad?

I hope I helped a little, but someone definitely needs to change the way this "rescue" works.

User is Offline DethronedbyQueenB
212 posts Send Private Message
10/29/2014 7:50 PM
I think the problem could be whether or not the person even cares .

Is there a higher authority she answers to that you could contact?
I think I would contact her directly ONCE, in an email so she can choose to research and read. Possibly starting and ending on a positive and filling all the middle with facts, figures, professional sourcing and concern.Then maybe follow up with a call if you don't hear back.
Then I would go up the ladder. Maybe even some sort of animal rights place or whatever organization does welfare checks on animals if it seems necessary.
Also, maybe follow the money, where it's coming from and perhaps go that route?


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User is Offline BunnyHugger
82 posts Send Private Message
10/31/2014 12:39 PM
Well, volunteering for one more thing is out of the question, Mocha. As I said, I'm a rescuer myself.

Dethroned, yes, the question is whether she cares.

I've no problem with assertiveness and being factual. My puzzlement lies in the obvious attitude she gives along with the bad advice. I think I'll do what you suggest. I just dread getting an unbalanced response, as can happen with odd individuals who think they're "right." Oh well, as you said, contact her ONCE. If she flips out, there's always email block.

There is no animal welfare agency that would do anything about harmful advice on a website. It's hard enough getting most of them to do anything when there's clear neglect and abuse in front of their eyes.
'Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem." ~A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

User is Offline Sarita
18890 posts Send Private Message
11/01/2014 9:48 AM
I have helped many rescues, been a House Rabbit Society rescue/foster, helped start a rescue and known many rescuers. For the most part, rescuers, in my opinion are very difficult to change especially those who started the rescue. I've found that they have their own ideas and are difficult to change. I've been on the board for 2 other rabbit rescues and a guinea pig rescue and needless to say, after awhile, I just decided to give up rescue work at all. Even having a rescue that I started with other like minded individuals eventually went under because those people who are still my friends eventually went other ways with their lives...which happens because circumstances change.

You are going to find that if the rescue you help with doesn't have your same ideals and don't take your suggestions for change, you will be frustrated and leave...I've done that many times.

User is Offline BunnyHugger
82 posts Send Private Message
11/01/2014 3:13 PM
Sigh, yes Sarita, I'm afraid you're right. I've rescued for many, many years, and most often do it on my own, with my own funds. It's rare to find such a disparate set of opinions on anything, as on animal care. Even parenting seems to have more consistent views.

Like you, I left a couple of rescues as a volunteer, because we just didn't see eye to eye on rehab and adoption. I saw animals adopted to homes that were clearly unsuitable. As just one example that broke my heart, a huge, rambunctious teenage dog was adopted out to a family with a toddler. This dog had a warning sign on his shelter kennel, that only experienced handlers were to go in. Because he'd clamber all 120 lbs. on top of your back and claw/nip at your head! Apparently his former owners thought this was cute puppy behavior and encouraged it.

Needless to say, he hurt the toddler and was returned. Now he was even more frantic and out of control, after believing he had a home. Not to mention a traumatized child and a family who didn't take another shelter dog. Odds are, they will either not get a dog, or buy one from a backyarder or pet store. 

Fortunately, I don't work with the rabbit rescue that hands out harmful advice. I think I'll take a few days and write as neutral a letter to Madame Presidente as I can, and send good vibes along with it. I know there are many other fronts on which I could be advocating, and I do. But I have strong personal feelings about people who betray rescue animals. It's so awful to be an innocent creature who thinks you're out of a horrible situation, only to find yourself in another one, in the guise of "love."
'Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem." ~A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
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