Each year, hundreds of domestic rabbits are abandoned to Pittsburgh animal shelters and rescues — Animal Friends, Animal Rescue League, Rabbit Wranglers and W. Pa. Humane Society.
Many more receive improper care, even neglect, from owners who simply don’t understand their rabbit’s basic needs for housing, diet, exercise and health care.
The Pittsburgh House Rabbit Club was launched in July 2005 to help educate people who own rabbits, and those planning to bring one home.
The mission of the club is fourfold:
— To promote rabbits as house pets.
— To assist shelters in the foster care and permanent placement of rabbits as house pets.
— To promote not only humane care of rabbits, but to encourage a standard of excellence in their care.
— To educate animal professionals and the public regarding rabbit care, behavior and the need for spaying and neutering.
Rabbits are inexpensive to buy, so people wrongly assume they are cheap, low-maintenance pets. Parents often believe a cute baby “Easter bunny” is a good choice for young children. However, rabbits reach their reproductive years before six months of age. Without patient, daily training – and spaying and neutering, which can cost more than $150 – a baby bunny can quickly grow into a destructive, aggressive, adolescent rabbit.
Like dogs and cats, domestic rabbits are intelligent, social animals. They have distinct personalities, and can live from 8 to 12 years. They make wonderful additions to families who are prepared to care for them.
The Pittsburgh House Rabbit Club was founded as a partnership between the W. Pa. Humane Society education department and Mary Cvetan, a freelance marketing writer and media consultant.
The club has produced more than 100 free educational seminars focused on rabbit diet, housing, behavior, health and training. Most of our events are hosted by Animal Friends, Animal Rescue League and W. Pa. Humane Society.
The club serves as a central communication resource for the ever-growing, collaborative rabbit community in Pittsburgh.