The Bermuda SPCA will mark a day of action and awareness for animal rights and welfare tomorrow.

Rabbits will take centre stage as the charity observes World Animal Day, held annually on October 4, the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

“A pet is a lifetime commitment that should not be taken lightly,” executive director Deborah Titterton Narraway said.

“Responsible pet ownership means promising to take care of your pet through sickness and health for the duration of its life.

“Unfortunately, impulse buying and the giving up or dumping of pets when the kids have out grown them or have left for university are all too easy.”

According to the charity, it has adopted “The Case of the Rabbit” as its theme this year to raise awareness of the needs of these “lovable and highly sociable creatures”.

With several pairs of rabbits available, it will be waiving adoptions fees for those rabbits that are adopted between 11am and 4pm tomorrow. There will also be no adoption fee for cats older than one year.

“Owning and caring for rabbits is great fun and rewarding but also a big responsibility that requires long term care as rabbits can live eight to 12 years,” the charity stated.

The charity explained that all rabbits surrendered to the shelter are neutered to reduce the number of unwanted rabbits on the island, as well as for preventive healthcare reasons, with neutering deemed to allow for smooth introductions and loving long-term relationships between same-sex rabbits as well as mixed pairs.

But the charity also emphasised that rabbits should not be kept alone and that they should always have a suitable environment providing protection against the elements, a healthy diet and fresh water, protection from pain, suffering injury and disease, and freedom of movement. And because rabbits were not designed to live on wire floors, there should be a resting board or rug for them to sit on.

A rabbit’s home should also be at least four to six times his or her size when entirely stretched out and enclosure sizes should be decided in conjunction with the amount of exercise time and space the rabbit has.

The charity added that adults should always be the primary carers of rabbits, which are not deemed to be suitable pets for children under 8, and should supervise all interactions between animals and children.

By The Royal Gazette