Corridor-reared bunny dies after severe neglect, AVA concludes it has been cared for since food has been given and cage cleaned

A Hougang resident alerted local rabbit rescue group Bunny Wonderland to a rabbit which had died in its cage in the corridor outside her neighbour’s HDB flat on 16 September.

According to the resident, the owner of the rabbit is a teacher at a local neighbourhood primary school.

The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, provided Bunny Wonderland with disturbing images of the carcass. From the poor condition of the body, it is clear that the rabbit had been severely neglected for some time. Its legs were almost completely rotted away, with visible meat fibres hanging off the bone. Its cage was mouldy and there was no food bowl anywhere within.

More pictures taken by the same resident in 2017 show that when it was alive, the rabbit was subjected to dirty surroundings and deprived of a healthy diet.

This was not the first time the resident has had run-ins with her neighbour over rabbits. Several years ago, she had to give up her family’s pet rabbit after her mother fell ill and could no longer care for it. She gave the rabbit to this same neighbour, who allowed it to run freely around the HDB block until it got lost one day and disappeared without a trace.

The recently deceased rabbit had been a gift from its owner’s friend and lived in the corridor for the past four years.

Ian Ong, a Bunny Wonderland volunteer, helped lodge a report with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) regarding the dead rabbit on the day that it was found.

Unfortunately, by the time the officer arrived on the scene that evening, the owner of the dead rabbit had already disposed of the carcass, so there was no physical evidence that the officer could take back to the lab for post-mortem.

After interviewing the owner, the officer concluded that the rabbit had been adequately cared for because the family had bought food for it. The officer also inspected the empty cage and noted that it was clean.

But the officer promised Ong that further investigations would be conducted.

Ong had once successfully rescued a bunny, named Buffy, from another HDB corridor in April this year and the story was covered by The Online Citizen. Buffy was later adopted by a family which passed Bunny Wonderland’s careful screening process, ensuring that she is given the best standards of living.

Sadly, not all cases of “corridor rabbits” have a happy ending like Buffy’s.

Ong, who takes a special interest in corridor rabbits, said: “People still think that the corridor is the proper place to house a bunny. When you decide to get a pet, you have decided to have another member in your family. Would you let your child or your elderly parent live outside in the corridor?”

Reiterating Bunny Wonderland’s strict stance against keeping rabbits in corridors, its volunteer in charge of outreach Jonathan Tiong said: “Rabbits are exposed to many dangers outside the house, from temperatures that are too hot or too cold, to aggressive animals like dogs and cats. Experts recommend that rabbits are kept indoors, in a fenced-off enclosure of at least one square metre per rabbit. This space should contain its litter box, water source, and a ready supply of hay.”

The carcass of the rabbit which died in its cage along an HDB common corridor on 16 September.
An enlarged view of the dead rabbit’s legs. Note the flesh that is exposed inside the red circle.
When the rabbit was still alive last year, it lived in poor conditions. Notice the following: 1) the food bowl is empty and too small; 2) a very limited amount of hay is strewn in the litter box; 3) the water bottle is brown and the spout is facing the outside of the cage; 4) the rabbit is in direct contact with the bedding material, which can cause a fatal gut blockage if ingested; 5) there appears to be a bit of blue plastic wrapper near the front of the cage, which is a choking hazard.

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Bunny Wonderland is a privately run rabbit rescue group. Since its founding in 2013, it has rehomed over 300 rabbits. It does not receive any official support or funding, and its annual expenses of around $150,000 are fully borne by its founder, with assistance from concerned members of the public.

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