Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mini Felt Rabbits

Check out the instructions for these mini felt rabbits.  There are lots of photos.  I may be able to administer SubQ fluids to a rabbit and give shots, etc., but when it comes to crafts I want how-to photos and this article has them.  Great DIY gift for Spring. (Photo: Buzzmills via Blogher

Friday, March 16, 2012

Theft of Soho Bunny Inhumane for Bonded Pair of Rabbits

UPDATE: Miss Cooper was dropped off at the first precinct stationhouse just after midnight, police and the store owners said. She has returned to her pen in the front of the store with her bunny friend, Jack.  “I always make a point of walking by and waving at the rabbits,” said renowned journalist Carl Bernstein, who visited the shop Saturday after he read of the bunny-napping in the Daily News.
“I’m glad it’s going to be a happy ending.”  Good News for everyone especially the rabbits.

Earlier this week a rabbit called Miss Cooper, who lives by day in the window of a SoHo clothing boutique was stolen leaving, Jack, her bonded bunny friend alone.  Both bunnies are popular with Alexander Berardi NY’s clientele including model Christy Turlington and actress Jane Krakowski.  
The thieves are thought to be a couple who had regularly visited the store and have petted the bunnies on several occasions. According to one of the store owners, "A lot of people come to see the bunnies, though, so it didn't seem out of the ordinary."
What the thieves may not realize is the theft of one rabbit puts both rabbits in jeopardy. It is cruel to separate a bonded pair of rabbits since it can be life threatening for one or both of the bunnies.  Domesticated rabbits are highly social herd animals and they bond for life. Miss Cooper will be in a new environment with strangers and also stressed by the absence of her bonded rabbit friend.  The other rabbit, Jack, may also exhibit stress from the separation.  Stress can cause lethargy and loss of appetite.  It is a very short process from this to GI Stasis which is potentially fatal. Both may need immediate veterinary care if they exhibit symptoms.  I never separate bonded rabbit pairs.  Sometimes when one rabbit of a bonded pair passes away the remaining rabbit has a very difficult time recovering from the other’s death.  If Miss Cooper’s abductors are not experienced with rabbits, she may not survive.  I doubt the thieves who stole Miss Cooper know or care how their actions will hurt both rabbits, or they wouldn't have snatched the rabbit in the first place. However, if they care for Miss Cooper (and Jack) at all, they must return her home very soon.  
(Photo credit: DNAinfo.com)

House Could be Condemned in Rabbit Hoarding Case

You know when animal control officers need to wear contamination suits to enter a home to remove animals it is going to be bad.  Last night in Virginia Beach, VA several media outlets reported police and firefighters were in the process of removing 50 rabbits from a home.  There had been a report of a foul smell coming from the house and when officers arrived they found the home overrun by rabbits.  Animal control officials stated that "Most of the rabbits do appear healthy."  However, some of the rabbits were "obviously sick" and two had died. The woman who owned the home was contacted at her work and gave permission for all the rabbits to be removed.  The house itself is now being assessed and could be condemned. It's hard to imagine the living conditions animals like these rabbits endure in hoarding cases.
Animal hoarding causes suffering for both animals and humans.  Plus, local animal shelters take on the burden and many times resources are needed regionally if a lot of animals involved. The rabbits in Virginia Beach are receiving care and medical exams now.  I hope the hoarder receives treatment for this mental health disorder because animal hoarders have a high risk for becoming repeat offenders. One of the best resources for current information on animal hoarding is Tufts University Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium.
UPDATE:  The total number of rabbits is now 90.  A 60 year old woman has been charged with three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and two counts of improper disposal of a dead animal.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mad Rabbit Disease

A study by the  Biogune Research Centre has shown rabbits are not resistant to prion diseases (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies  - “Mad Cow” is the bovine variety).  For decades it was thought rabbits were resistant, but the study shows rabbits can also develop an infection. The authors of the study say an epidemic of “mad rabbits” like the one seen in cows in the 1990s is “highly unlikely.”  But it was also noted in the article that the study “opens up the debate regarding the suitability of feeding various species with animal proteins that may be contaminated with prions, even those that for many years have been considered to be resistant.“

European Rabbit Featured on MSNBC's Animal Tracks

This wonderful photo of a European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)  native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa was featured on MSNBC's Animal Tracks slide show this week.  The European Rabbit is the only species of rabbit to be domesticated. The 40+ breeds of rabbits we all know as our companions are the same species. No wonder they are all so beautiful!  (Photo credit: Patrick Pleul / EPA)

Ricky Gervais Hops to it to End Animal Testing

Check out this video of Ricky Gervais, Ambassador for Cruelty Free International and a bunny friend:

Filming at Zoo Takes Tragic Turn for Bunny

This morning I read the story online about a little bunny unintentionally crushed by a clumsy camerman's misstep. Unfortunately, it seems no one at the Limbach-Oberfrohna Zoo in eastern Germany knew where their star attraction was when this accident happened. Officials were about to introduce Til, a three-week old earless rabbit to the news media. Most of the articles say the camerman who came to film the rabbit simply took a step back and instantly killed Til. It was also reported the camerman as "distraught." I am sure it was an accident, but I was disgusted at the completely senseless stupidity of the incident.  I have house rabbits and they are hopping around my home, but in all these years I have never stepped on a rabbit. I have to wonder why the TV crew and any zoo staff present were not alert to the rabbit's whereabouts. Granted, my  rabbits have a tendency to get underfoot too easily, but I'm the much larger human so it's my responsibility to watch out for them. The adorable bunny in Germany was the reason for the media visit.  I assume the cameraman was preoccupied with setting up his equipment and had no awareness of the animal in their shared space. This wasn't a 400 pound Gorilla sitting in the room with them, instead it was a baby bunny small enough to hold in one hand. By virture of his fragility,  Til deserved much more attention. Now he has everyone's attention and it is very sad.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Following the White Rabbit: Flopsy Parker

About a dozen years ago a small lop bunny I named Groucho (along with Spice, Xena & Angel) inspired me to start Hopperhome.com.  Likewise, Flopsy Parker, a sweet Lionhead breed bunny (pictured) was an inspiration for Gretta Parker.  I was sad to learn this adorable rabbit who touched people all over the world passed away in late December. (He succumbed suddenly from a congenital kidney defect.) Many of us knew Flopsy through his Facebook page Gretta started after she adopted him for $7.50 from a local shelter. Flopsy promoted rabbit adoption and Gretta also started Baskets for Bunnies, Inc. a non-profit that sends supplies to rabbit rescues on a monthly basis.  She also successfully started "Toys for Hops" a program to raise toys to send to shelter rabbits in conjunction with the rabbit toy company Pet Rabbit Toys. This small rabbit was a big inspiration.  For more on a book Gretta wrote as a tribute to Flopsy see: The Easter Bunny That Grew Up.  

Setting Science on Its Ear

A satirical article over Weekly World News by Frank Lake announces a "new discovery" that homo sapiens may have evolved from lagomorphs.  According to the news item rabbits are our closest relatives instead of other primates.  Of course, the terms hare and cottontail are used interchangeably in the story so it makes me wonder about the credibility of the research.  As we all know hares and jackrabbits belong to the genus Lepus and cottontails are in the genus Sylvilagus with 16 different species. (Our domesticated bunnies are in the genus Oryctolagus.) The sketchy details make me skeptical even though I enjoy leafy greens, and have an affinity for wiggly fuzzy noses.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dyeing Rabbits & Chicks - It could Happen in Florida

I haven't seen a dyed Easter bunny in many, many years.  But if I go to Florida this winter I might see one because Florida Governor Rick Scott could change the current law banning the practice with his signature.  New York, California and 17 other states ban the dying process - labeling it as animal cruelty as far back as 1967. Florida does, too. Hopefully, it won't change since the process is cruel and can be toxic.
What is really shameful is that Florida Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale) sponsored Amendment 303390 - repealing S.828.161, F.S. (onto H.B. Bill 1197) because a dog groomer wanted it to be legal to dye dogs' coats for pet shows. The groomer wants to be able to do "creative" dyes on dogs for "fun."  Well, it is no fun for all of the other animals that could be affected by this law.

It was Florida State Senator Nan Rich who spoke in defense of current law and against a repeal: “This is a way of ensuring that we don’t have a lot of little adorable ducks, rabbits and chickens that are given away at Easter time and look so cute and then two or three months later nobody wants them.” Despite her efforts, the amendment was adopted. The revised bill (HB 1197) was later passed by the Florida House and the bill is now headed to the governor’s desk.

Call Govenor Rick Scott's office to tell him Not to sign the repeal of the current law.  His office number is: (850) 488-7146 or link to email   (Photo above was sent to me and shows colored bunnies in Qatar.)

People Magazine Features Shakira's New Bunnies

Pop singer Shakira hopped on the bunny band wagon this spring and introduced two new pets on Twitter this week. "Meet our baby bunnies," she tweeted (@shakira), sharing several pictures of the two little Lionhead rabbits. Every so often a celebrity buys a bunny just before Easter and it's featured in the media. Just a couple of years ago Paris Hilton purchased two "Easter" rabbits in Beverly Hills.  Unfortunately,  a celebrity who buys a rabbit this close to Easter can send the wrong message to the public about giving live bunnies as gifts this time of year - no matter how well-intentioned. Hundreds (if not thousands) of rabbits are purchased on a whim every Easter and abandoned a few months later. It would be fantastic if Shakira and other celebrities who love rabbits would promote adoption of former Easter rabbits year around. They could help hundreds of rabbits needing homes. I wish Shakira all the best with her two new bunny friends. (Photo via People Magazine)

Elderly Gorilla Finds a New Friend in a Rabbit

elderly gorilla has a new companion: a Dutch breed bunny named Panda. Samantha, has been without a friend since the death of Rudy, a male gorilla, in 2005. Officials say the 47-year-old western lowland gorilla is too fragile to be paired with another gorilla so they introduced her to Panda, a Dutch rabbit, last month. Zookeepers report Samantha is gentle with Panda and will scratch under the bunny's chin and share her food. Rabbits have been paired with gorillas at other wildlife rehabilitation centers in the past with good results for all. It seems bunnies have the same calming effect on gorillas as they do on humans.