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Rabbit Rescue Spotlight: Gainesville Rabbit Rescue

The Gainesville Rabbit Rescue started in 1998 when two University of Florida college students started taking in undesirable rabbits. They had been affiliated with the Tampa House Rabbit Society. Betsy Duncan joined them as a volunteer in 2000 after shifting to the realm and rescuing a Holland Lop that had one eye. Duncan, Kathy Finelli and Samantha Garver grew to become the board of administrators for the Gainesville Rabbit Rescue when the 2 UF college students graduated and wanted somebody to take over. The rescue grew to become its personal entity in 2003.

Duncan stated traits in surrendering rabbits are all the time the identical. “[People’s] life circumstances changed. They need to move and can’t take their rabbit to their new home, their rabbit has behavioral issues they do not want to deal with, their children lost interest, they got a dog that wants to kill the rabbit, etc.”

two rabbits sitting side by side
© Courtesy Shannon Jackson/ShannonJaxProductions.com 
Impo and Expo are one of many many bonded pairs that acquired assist from the Gainesville Rabbit Rescue.

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Rabbit Rescue Successes
Two rescues stand out in Duncan’s thoughts. One was referred to as the Sunshine Rescue and concerned a number of Florida rabbit rescues and rescues in different states banding collectively to save lots of rabbits that a big breeder who was going out of enterprise had threatened to kill. “That was just unheard of — killing innocent, healthy rabbits — so we banned together and got all of the rabbits out,” Duncan stated.

The second rescue concerned a neighborhood hoarder who referred to as them when she realized she had an issue. They took in 15 giant rabbits. “This rescue was done on Valentine’s Day 2011,” Duncan stated, “some of the sweetest and largest rabbits we had ever rescued. We still have two today that are the poster buns for our new endeavor. Smokey and Joe Black are still waiting for adoption and a safe, welcoming place to play.”

Aside from the rescues, Duncan stated maybe the best success thus far is changing a barn on her property right into a temperature-controlled house for the rabbits. She stated it’s good to have an area for folks to go to the rabbits and see how playful and fantastic they’re.

The most profitable fundraiser thus far was taking part in a style present referred to as Runways and Rescues, in response to Duncan. The designer additionally invited a greyhound rescue group to take part. The fashions held a bunny as they walked the runway. Sponsors, in-kind donations and ticket gross sales had been break up between the 2 rescue teams.

Rabbit Rescue Challenges

While Duncan stated that funding is all the time a problem, she considers the most important problem of the rescue to be getting folks to view rabbits in a different way. “They are not food,” she stated. And she needs there was some method to promote or market or present folks protecting them exterior to even do it higher — to offer rabbits a good probability at survival and a secure place to dwell. To be protected by these caring for them as a substitute of exploited.

Duncan believes their schooling efforts have saved further rabbits past people who come to their shelter. People name to ask for recommendation, and they’re comfortable to assist. Some of the commonest questions are about what greens rabbits can eat and find out how to litter prepare rabbits.

The Gainesville Rabbit Rescue is run by volunteers, and Duncan stated people change as folks transfer into and out of the college-town space. “We have a core group that is aging and could use some new and long-term volunteers to help run the rescue,” she stated. “One of our members is retired from guinea pig rescue as she had no support, so she joined our team and we now support her endeavors. We offer the public a voucher program to assist them with spay/neuter costs — this was done through a grant we received which we are paying forward by passing this benefit along to others.”

What People Should Know About Rabbits
What is the one factor Duncan needs folks knew about rabbits? “We wish that people could see that they are not for small children, but for everyone and that they are able to be spayed/neutered, litter box trained and are wonderful house pets. Living in an outside hutch is not enough — they need to be part of the family, just like other domestic pets.”


Gainesville Rabbit Rescue Quick Stats
Location: Florida
Opened: 1998 in affiliation with Tampa House Rabbit Society; 2003 as personal entity
Rabbits Rescued Since Opening: Approximately 1,100 since 1998 
Number Of Rabbits Typically At The Shelter: 80 to 100

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Excerpt from the annual journal Rabbits USA, 2014 challenge, with permission from its writer, I-5 Publishing, LLC. To buy the present Rabbits USA annual, click on right here>>

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