An Aldergrove animal rescue team warns people not to be sucked into buying a bunny following the release last week of the movie Peter Rabbit. (Special to the Langley Advance)

B.C. animal lovers fears influx of bunnies following Peter Rabbit debut

Pets are not products, and those adopting should expect a 10-year plus commitment

In light of this past Thursday’s release of the movie, Peter Rabbit, a B.C.-based animal rescue organization is pleading with consumers to refrain from impulsively buying rabbits as pets.

The release of films featuring cute animals typically results in a spike in pet sales, which in turn, results in volunteer-run, non-profit rescues being inundated with requests to take unwanted animals once consumers discover how much work they are, said Lisa Hutcheon, president of Small Animal Rescue Society of B.C. (SARS BC).

“For dedicated guardians, having a pet rabbit is a rewarding experience,” the president of the Aldergrove-based group admitted.

“But too often, we see the other side of rabbit guardianship. They are dumped in parks and left to fend for themselves, soon falling victim to injury, disease, starvation and predators. For hundreds of these former pets, death is a slow, painful certainty,” she elaborated.

This has been seen with the release of such films as Snow Dogs, Snow Buddies, Legally Blonde and 101 Dalmatians, Hutcheon pointed out.

“This release poses an extra threat as it coincides with Easter, typically a terrible time for rabbits and rabbit rescues,” she predicted.

.

Adoption means in for the long haul

A cage is not enough.

Rabbits are high maintenance pets that require specialized vet care and daily exercise.

Their indoor enclosures and litter boxes need to be cleaned regularly.

Their survival depends on being fed a specific diet and having their eating and elimination habits closely monitored.

“They are ground loving prey animals that do not appreciate to be cuddled and carried around,” Hutcheon said, offering some insight into what some simply see as cute little cuddly bunnies.

“In addition, rabbits can live up to 10-12 years…..not the one or two years most people think.”

Most rescue groups – which are typically volunteer run and dependent on private donations – are at their limits taking care of abandoned rabbits and victims of cruelty and neglect.

The wait times for owner surrenders are long, and one will most likely not be able to find immediate placement for a rabbit should one decide to give it up.

Releasing a rabbit into the wild is not an option. It is illegal and will result in the rabbit’s death,” Hutcheon said.

“Please enjoy the Peter Rabbit movie and if you feel the urge to add a rabbit to your family, cons for your lifestyle,” she said.

“Rabbits are often a poor choice for children. Otherwise, a stuffed bunny is a great choice.”

.

No other group takes small animals

The Small Animal Rescue Society of BC is a registered charity with the primary focus to rescue and re-home small animals in need – neglected, injured, and abandoned animals are their main priority.

Langley has no where to take small animals,” Hutcheon said.

“If this movie ends creating a surplus of unwanted pet rabbits, then we are in big, big trouble and lots of animals may end up neglected or dead,” she concluded.

SARS works with a number of small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, gerbils, degus, chinchillas, hedgehogs, reptiles, birds, ferrets, cats, and dogs – and encourages people not to breed or buy while homeless pets are dying.

More information about the group, its need for funding, and what animals are available for adoption can be found online at: www.smallanimalrescue.org.

Just Posted

Fish farm protest held in Comox

The rally took place on Comox Avenue, concluding at the entry to the BC Seafood Festival

Tales from MusicFest: Women of the Festival

Many sensational female acts at this year’s Vancouver island MusicFest

Washington State man facing murder charges in 1987 killing of Victoria couple

Two counts of aggravated first-degree murder filed against William Talbott II in Snohomish

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

Labour pains: cheap help is hard to find on Vancouver Island

Big Read: high demand for workers, lack of affordable living mean imperfect storm for businesses

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former Penticton Vee recovering in hospital

Pittsburgh Penguin prospect expected to make full recovery

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

Two Mexican World Cup fans were among those hit

B.C. VIEWS: Orphans of our urban drug culture neglected again

Child advocate Bernard Richard leaves B.C. with harsh message

From marijuana beer to pot cookies, Canadian companies creating cannabis edibles

Manufacturers think that edibles will do well with users who don’t want to smoke or vape

Privacy lawyer warns against victim blaming in recent sextortion scams

Perpetrators get sexual photos of the victim and threaten to share them with friends and families

QB Jennings leads Lions to 22-10 win over Alouettes

B.C. wins CFL home opener over Montreal

Most Read