Just last week, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and volunteers from Bunny Wonderland rescued 12 rabbits from a breeder at Hougang, that were in terrible health conditions.
Bunny Wonderland, a private rescue effort run by a group of rabbit lovers, was contacted by SPCA Singapore on 3 May (Wednesday) to assist with a case of rabbit overbreeding at 921 Hougang St 91.
When the volunteers from Bunny Wonderland spoke to the owner of the litter of bunnies, he revealed that he got the parents of the one of the bunny from a friend and has been breeding them for the past two years. He gave some of the babies away, and he kept the others.
During the visit, it was noted that the owner had 12 adult rabbits housed together. The owner explained that the rabbits are 'fine' but he got busy and could only feed and clean them once a week.
Upon SPCA's confrontation, the owner was asked to rehome five of the rabbits. When asked what was his plan for the remaining seven, he told them that he will continue to do what he does every other day.
Sensing his lack of commitment to the rabbits, Bunny Wonderland requested SPCA to remove all 12 of the rabbits. The owner let them go without hesitation. As SPCA's shelter was full, they were unable to take in the rabbits. Bunny Wonderland struggled to make space for the 12 rabbits and managed to do so with the help of its adopters.
When the rabbits were rescued by SPCA, they were said to be in severely bad condition by the volunteers . Bunny Wonderland said that "these rabbits were in 10 times worse conditions than the Tampines 11 case". The Tampines 11 case happened recently on 22 April, where 23 rabbits and over 100 mices were found in a HDB flat that belonged to a mother and son.
The rabbit's long fur were all matted, their nails were so long, they curled. They were also very skinny. Some of the adult rabbits weighed only 700g.
According to the volunteers who handled the rabbits, they were hungry to the point of eating newspapers and gasping for water. All of them were tested positive for coccidia (parasite). They were hospitalized due to their horrible condition.
All 12 of the rabbits underwent treatment for coccidia, e. cuniculi, fur mites and received medication to help them recover.
Bunny Wonderland has since reported the case to Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) (Case Number: AVA-17-033443) and has provided the details of the owner to AVA to aid their investigation.
"We can only hope that the authority look into this case and prosecute the owner who caused unimaginable harm to the innocent animals," Bunny Wonderland said in their post.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone who is found guilty of cruelty to animals, including abandonment, can be imprisoned for up to 18 months, fined up to $15,000, or both.
As of now, AVA has has not responded on the case.
According to the volunteers, such cases of owner negligence amounting to abuse are very common. Within 10 days, the volunteer group received two cases of over 12 rabbits each, neglected due to overbreeding. In addition, over 300 rabbits are abandoned and neglected every year.
Currently, such cases of animal abuse are often thrown to Animal Welfare Groups, like Bunny Wonderland and Cat Welfare Society, which have no support from the government.
A volunteer from Bunny Wonderland said, "For example, this Hougang rescue case itself amounts to about $6000 in expenses. Also, families who commit severe neglect receive only warnings with no proper follow up by AVA, to ensure that they don't repeat and hurt other animals. But AVA usually take months before taking actions. We've been reporting cases for the past 3 years, and so far only 2 warning letters were issued".
According to Bunny Wonderland's post, updates from the vet says that the rabbits are eating and pooping well. "They have calmed down a lot over the past 48 hours and are ready to be handled. Most of these rabbits are jersey wooly and their fur are so matted they can’t move properly. The vets and nurses will be shaving them down today to allow their skin to breath and new fur to grow. It will take at least 3 months for them to look better," Bunny Wonderland said.
In their latest update, Bunny Wonderland raised $1600 for this rescue mission and noted that it is a significant help to offset their medical expenses.
"We are also very blessed with compassionate vets at Vet Central who have helped us to keep our expenses low. The latest estimate for their bills is about $6000." wrote Bunny Wonderland on its Facebook page.