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My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

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My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#1  Unread postby For-A-Buddy » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:55 am


WARNING: The issue I am about to describe may shock and horrify most of you. I've mainly joined the forum solely to ask about it, and need whatever advice I can get to help my friend.
IF SEVERE NEGLECT DISTURBS OR TRIGGERS YOU, PLEASE SKIP THE POST.

I've only recently put my foot into the territory of "non-minordom" at 18 years of age. My longterm penpal from the Northern UK has been in a similar boat with me. About 11 years ago, his little sister received a baby bunny as a present-pet. You can already tell where this is going, giving a young child with no experience an unreared bunny. In a matter of two weeks his sister completely lost interest in the rabbit, and since then it has not been handled, or taken out of its hutch outside of it needing to be cleaned. In his teen years, he tried his best to care for it however he could, but it was already extremely feral and aggressive with people and could not be rehabilitated. His entire life his family has been stubborn, delusional, and bull-headed about all pressing matters including this rabbit. They consider themselves animal lovers, but wont allow him to have the rabbit put down, and he fears calling a charity because he doesn't want his own well-nurtured and loved pets to be taken from him over something that was his families fault. He tries to mention the rabbit at least once a month to the family in hopes that they'll let him do something about it, or that they'll have a change of heart- but they think that a rabbit who has been neglected for 11 years, left in floods, blizzards, and been out where there's fireworks and painfully loud noises with an eye infection is perfectly normal and fine. He's at the end of his rope on the matter, and because his households somewhat abusive, he can't do anything with the rabbit without his family knowing and endangering him. The house is full of dogs that are very aggressive towards rabbits and would likely kill it if there was no hutch separating them. (No, the mother will not give them up- they are the only household animals of any importance to her.)

If this is a bad place to put this, I at least would love to know where I can go to get some help or advice on improving this bunnies life. Thanks.

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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Apr 03, 2016 10:12 am


A very sad situation, but unfortunately it is not as uncommon as one might suppose. I can understand your friend worrying that getting the RSPCA involved might lead to losing his pets.

At eleven years old, the rabbit is on borrowed time. I'm surprised it has survived that long in those conditions. It is most likely long past the time when it could be rehabilitated.

About all I can see for your friend to do is to make sure it gets good feed and water, regular nail trimming, treatment for any minor ailments, maybe a few toys to alleviate its boredom and extra protection from the extremes of weather.

That's all I can think of . . . I hope you get some better suggestions from other members.
Sojourning in 1894 . . .

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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#3  Unread postby a7736100 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:29 am


He must be doing something right as the average rabbit drops dead pretty easily. Do you know if it at least gets its nails trimmed? Please ask him what he feeds, size and type of hutch and location of hutch, what happens while the hutch is being cleaned. Is the rabbit allowed to run around during that time? What ever he's doing seems to at least keep the gut and teeth healthy and clean enough not to have fly strike. Is your friend getting scratched and bitten all the time? How long has the eye been infected? If it's the result of a scratch it may heal by itself. It's possible it's really not an abused rabbit except in the view of a house rabbit type extremist.

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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#4  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:19 pm


a7736100 wrote:He must be doing something right as the average rabbit drops dead pretty easily. It's possible it's really not an abused rabbit except in the view of a house rabbit type extremist.


I have to agree. Rabbits live quite happily in outdoor hutches with little human interaction. As long as they have fresh food and water available, their enclosure is kept clean, and they get nail trims when necessary, keeping them in a hutch at all times does not constitute neglect.

As for the aggressive behavior; it is probably a doe rabbit and she gets aggressive when she wants to be bred, and the behavior likely started when she entered puberty. She (?) has likely gotten positive reinforcement (i.e. the human retreats) when she lunges, strikes with her front paws, or tries to bite. Being aggressive is not necessarily due to abuse.

A good treatment for the eye would be a solution of chamomile tea and raw honey used to rinse the eye. If no improvement is seen after rinsing the eye out twice daily for three days, a non-steroidal eye ointment may be necessary.

Since the rabbit needs treatment, it would be a good time to work with it on the aggression.

Here is a link to my method for dealing with rabbits that resist handling:

post180321.html#p180321

Good luck! :clover:
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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:24 pm


It's true that the rabbit is probably content without much interaction, which is why I suggested simply improving its care in its current hutch. It seems to me it is more ignored than abused.

Some rabbits bond with their human caregivers and some enjoy the company of other rabbits, but a lot of them just want to be left alone.

It is easy for kind, compassionate people to project their own feelings onto animals and think the animal feels the same way that they would in a similar situation. The rabbit, for instance, does not feel like it is in a jail cell, even though it cannot run free. It's cage is its home and that is why it fights coming out of it.

Animals do have emotions, of course, but they are different than we sometimes think. This is a good site for understanding rabbits better. Please recommend it to your friend.
http://language.rabbitspeak.com/
Sojourning in 1894 . . .

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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Preitler » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:58 pm


First off, I may express myself something awkwardly since english is not my mother tongue.

Hm, I somehow have the impression that it's not the rabbit that has the problem with the situation. Sure, it may be a boring life for it, like for most caged single pets, but he seems cared for and this kind of life is all it knows. Btw, I know no other animal that cares less about fireworks than rabbits.
As for beeing aggressive - to have a tame rabbit needs constant interaction, most are no cuddly pets by themself. Not wanting to be touched or have someone reach into his terretory is quite something to be expected from a rabbit that lived alone in a hutch for a long time.

Your friend, on the other hand, seems to have an urge to make a point and seems to project some of his feelings on the rabbit, or unconsciously chose the rabbit as focus for a little emotional revolt, well, many of us were that age once :oops: .
Since you only know what he says it's hard to give any other advice than already given, and I would not think that killing the rabbit to have it off his mind is a good reason.
He could try to rehome it to someone who knows how to handle such rabbits (would be hard to find), with or without his parents consent - and face the consequences in the latter case.

I would try to read more between the lines than what he actually talks about, after reading your post I can't get rid of the impression that the rabbit is some kind of ersatz battleground.

Sorry if that sounds somewhat harsh, it should not, but that's not a topic I'm fluent with.

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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#7  Unread postby alforddm » Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:58 pm


You say the rabbit has an eye infection? That is something that does need to be tended to. Depending on how bad the infection is it could be treated with something as simple as an eye wash or as extensive as antibiotics.

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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Zass » Sun Apr 03, 2016 2:24 pm


I can't help but agree with the others. 11 years is a good lifespan for any rabbit. Someone is doing something right for it.
The bunny must have had sufficient feed, shelter, and lived in a relatively low stress environment.
For some antisocial rabbits, forcing a lot of handling could be more stressful than leaving them alone.

He should trim nails if necessary, and take care of the eye infection.
The family can just continue taking care of it until it reaches the end of it's natural lifespan, which should be in the next couple of years.

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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Miss M » Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:59 pm


It is certainly not an ideal situation for the rabbit or for the friend, but I agree that it does not sound as if the rabbit is severely abused. When I saw the title, I assumed the rabbit was being beaten or something, but it sounds like it has almost no interaction, good or bad. For it to live 11 years, its basic needs are obviously being met, and it's possible that the friend has been providing all of this care since his sister lost interest.

There are some rabbits that don't like human interaction. I had a rabbit like that a long time ago. After she was more than a few months old, she didn't want to be held, petted, or anything. She wasn't aggressive toward me that I recall, but it did get to where all I did was give her the basic needs and let her run around on the porch some. She was an antisocial rabbit. This rabbit may very well be quite content as long as she is being left alone.

Now, if the eye infection is a condition that has been known and neglected for a while, that could be considered abuse. If he can possibly treat the eye without endangering himself, that really needs doing.
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Re: My friend needs help with a severely abused rabbit.

Post Number:#10  Unread postby DaytonHillRabbits » Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:59 pm


It doesn't seem terrible to me, sounds like the bunny has had a good long life, and that he is receiving proper food, water and a clean area to live. It might not be ideal in the sense that he isn't a true "pet" bunny (I.E.. he doesn't receive the attention that some feel he should), however, not all rabbits even want that kind of attention. A lot are perfectly content to live by themselves provided they are receiving the proper care. Sounds like his eye may need attention however, so that is definitely important!

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