Rabbits in Need of Foster Homes After Population Boom in Granada Hills

Two Baby Wild Rabbits Kissing

Photo: Fiona McAllister Photography / Moment / Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Following the rescue of up to 100 rabbits from a home in Granada Hills, a rescue foundation Wednesday is urging residents to help foster or adopt the animals.

Bunny World Foundation, an all-volunteer foster-based animal rescue that finds homes for hundreds of abandoned domestic rabbits each year, said they are struggling to single-handedly assist the L.A. Animal Services Department with re-homing the animals.

Lejla Hadzimuratovic, founder and president of BWF, called the situation a "nightmare."

"I am extremely distraught having to witness yet another horrible backyard catastrophe," Hadzimuratovic said in a statement. "This was your typical situation where things got out of hand due to ignorance of rabbits' gestation period, which is 28 days."

Hadzimuratovic added, "When will people learn that it only takes two unfixed rabbits to create a tragedy of mass proportions and impose a hefty financial burden on Los Angeles rescue organizations operating on a zero budget? It's heartbreaking to see many painfully neglected and severely matted rabbits living in filth, exposed to hawks, owls, coyotes, raccoons, other wildlife, and harsh elements."

On Feb. 20, an LAAS supervisor from the West Valley Animal Shelter in Chatsworth contacted BWF seeking assistance rescuing a large number of rabbits found on a private property in Granada Hills. The owner had called for assistance after the fast-breeding rabbits began to proliferate in his back yard.

Four days later, the BWF team visited the scene and reported babies, nursing mothers, juveniles and adult rabbits running across several yards.

"Once we arrived at the scene, we worked diligently to trap and sex as many rabbits as possible. The bunnies we encountered were mainly adults, with many pregnant and potentially nursing females," said BWF adoption manager Jane Stonnington.

The organization trapped and sexed 50 rabbits that day and took them to the West Valley Animal Shelter. Most of the females were pregnant, BWF officials said.

Among other ailments, many of the rabbits were severely matted due to long-haired breeds, which can be extremely painful to rabbits. After the shelter staff processed the rabbits, BWF took the babies and placed them into temporary foster care.

The adult rabbits have been spread out between the city's six animal shelters as animal control continues to visit the property and confiscate more rabbits.

On Tuesday, the West Valley Animal Shelter contacted the BWF again regarding further assistance with sexing an additional 30 rabbits taken from the location by animal control officers.

LAAS and BWF are uncertain whether more births are on the way before female rabbits can be spayed, and any more pregnancies could threaten to increase the number of rabbits to upward of 300-plus, the said. The process may take weeks to resolve due to the mature system of underground burrows dug by the rabbits, with multiple litters quickly hiding underneath the house.

Before any hopes of adoption, each rabbit will need medical care, spaying/neutering, vaccination, deworming and professional grooming, Hadzimuratovic noted.

According to BWF, this situation comes at a challenging time when local shelters and parks will be overrun with bunnies who have nowhere to go after the spring breeding and post-Easter dumping season.

Those willing to foster or adopt rabbits are asked to email info@bunnyworldfoundation.org, with "I will foster an LAAS bunny" in the subject line.

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