The Bermuda SPCA]recognizes October 4 as World Animal Day, a day of action and awareness for animal rights and welfare. It is celebrated annually on the same day, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

“A pet is a lifetime commitment that should not be taken lightly. Responsible pet ownership means promising to take care of your pet through sickness and health for the duration of its life” say Deborah Titterton Narraway, Executive Director of the Bermuda SPCA.

“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.”

The SPCA said, “This year, the SPCA has adopted “The Case of the Rabbit” as its theme, raising awareness of the needs of these lovable and highly sociable creatures.

“Rabbits in the wild live in big groups and are very sociable animals, so it makes sense that they should live with at least one other bunny friend! Once you have witnessed a bonded pair of rabbits interact together, it’s unlikely you would ever want to keep a solitary rabbit.

“The SPCA currently have several pairs of rabbits and will be waiving their adoptions fees for rabbits who are adopted on World Animal Day, October 4 between 11am – 4pm.

“The SPCA has recently started neutering all rabbits who are surrendered to the shelter. There are two main reasons for this: to reduce the number of unwanted rabbits in Bermuda which is becoming a concern by the increase in number of calls received about ‘wild’ rabbits and rabbits being let loose to fend for themselves; the second reason being good preventive health care, neutering a rabbit allows for smooth introductions and loving long-term relationships between same-sex partners as well as mixed pairs.

“A rabbit should always have a suitable environment to provide: protection against the elements [sun, rain & wind], a healthy diet and fresh water, protection from pain, suffering injury and disease, and freedom of movement. It should be recognized that rabbits are not suitable pets for children under 8 years of age. An adult should always be the primary carer of the rabbits and supervise all interactions between rabbits [all animals] and children.

“Owning and caring for rabbits is great fun and rewarding but also a big responsibility that requires long term care as rabbits can live 8-12 years. Two rabbits are generally not any more expensive than one. Pellets, hay, fresh fruits and vegetables, and litter–shopping for two puts little additional strain on the budget.

“Rabbits were not designed to live on wire floors–they’re hard on their feet [which have no pads like those of cats or dogs]. If you must use a cage with a wire floor, you need to provide your rabbit with a resting board or rug for her to sit on, otherwise he/she will spend all of her time in her litterbox. But this is not ideal.

“A rabbit’s home should be at least 4-6 times his/her size when entirely stretched out. Enclosure sizes also should be decided in conjunction with the amount of exercise time and space the rabbit has. One guideline to go by is at least 8 square feet of enclosure space combined with at least at least 24 square feet of exercise space, for 1-2 rabbits, in which the rabbit[s] can run and play at least 5 hours per day.”

By Bernews