As the Easter holiday approaches, many start thinking about Easter bunnies as the perfect Easter gift. However, owning a rabbit is a commitment, and sometimes people don’t understand fully the level of care a rabbit requires. New owners may not be aware of their new pet’s prolific breeding habits or even the health benefits derived from spaying or neutering their pet. Some may even decide to avoid veterinary care altogether due to the added expense.
In an effort to help new rabbit owners, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC's Animals and the Humane Society of New York have teamed up to offer a free spay/neuter clinic especially for rabbits.
The free clinic will be held on Saturday, April 5, at the Humane Society of New York’s animal hospital located at 306 East 59th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues.
Appointments must be made in advance by calling 212-752-4842. Rabbit owners will be asked to bring their rabbits in for a free check-up a few days before the surgery.
Anyone adopting from a rescue group or shelter receives a rabbit who has already been spayed or neutered. However, this may not be the case when a new rabbit is purchased through a pet store or other source. These are the rabbits most in need of this free clinic.
Jane Hoffman, president of the Alliance, encourages New Yorkers who are considering adding a bunny or two to their families to first consider adopting from a rescue group or shelter instead of buying rabbits from pet stores.
“Adopting offers many advantages,” said Hoffman. “Like all New York City shelter animals, shelter rabbits are spayed or neutered before they are given to their adopters. And adoption counselors are terrific at matching people with pets and providing tips on how to care for rabbits, which is very different from caring for cats and dogs.”
It is extremely important to do your research and learn how to care for a pet rabbit before bringing one home. In some instances, new owners become overwhelmed with the new pet and abandon the rabbit. Domestic rabbits have been found released outdoors. Unfortunately, domestic rabbits simply cannot survive in the wild and face certain death unless rescued.
Other owners give the pets up to animal shelters like Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) and its rabbit adoption partner, Rabbit Rescue & Rehab. Sources say these organizations alone take in roughly 600 rabbits each year, making rabbits the third largest animal shelter population after cats and dogs.
The Humane Society of New York has been a presence in New York City since 1904, reaching out to animals in need when illness, injury or homelessness strikes. Open seven days a week, today its hospital and The Vladimir Horowitz and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz Adoption Center help more than 38,000 animals annually.
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with more than 150 partner rescue groups and shelters to offer important programs and services that save the lives of New York City’s homeless animals.
More rabbit spay/neuter clinics are planned. New Yorkers can check the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals website for information about future clinics.
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