Calgary·Video

You can get a free 'rabbit starter kit' if you adopt a bunny from an overwhelmed shelter

The Calgary Humane Society is overrun by rabbits, with about five times as many as it can handle, so it's offering a pay-what-you-can adoption fee and even handing out free "rabbit starter kits" with litter boxes, litter, pellets and hay.

Calgary Humane Society offers deals as rabbit population exceeds capacity

Want to adopt a rabbit?

2 years ago
1:00
The Calgary Humane Society is looking for homes for rabbits after seeing a big jump. The shelter is housing five times more bunnies than it's built for after seizures, surrenders and even people "rescuing" feral ones. 1:00

The Calgary Humane Society is taking desperate measures after finding itself overrun by bunnies, with about five times as many as it can handle.

The animal shelter is hosting an emergency rabbit adoption event, Feb. 6-12, with a pay-what-you-can adoption fee — and they're even handing out free "rabbit starter kits" with litter boxes, litter, pellets and hay.

  • Hop on to the video above to see the adorable, adoptable bunnies.

Carrie Fritz, the executive director of the humane society, says the organization is encouraging Calgarians in the market for a pet to choose one of its rabbits.

The shelter is helping ensure that you pick the right one, Fritz says.

Staff have written profiles on each furry little creature.

"They all have really unique personalities," Fritz said. "We'll tell you a little bit about the rabbit — if they're shy, if they're more outgoing, what they like, if loud noises scare them."

Rabbits a harder sell than dogs or cats

Fritz hopes increased adoptions will relieve the strain the bunnies are putting on the shelter's resources. It's currently caring for 100 rabbits. Normally, the humane society can comfortably house 18.

"We are way over capacity, so [we're] heavily relying on our foster parents right now," Fritz said. 

The Calgary Humane Society is currently caring for 100 rabbits. Normally, it can comfortably house 18. (Mike Symington/CBC News)

A number of factors have led to the high numbers, she says. 

Calgary's large feral population has contributed — as have owners who thought they owned two male or female rabbits, and learned too late that this wasn't the case.

"They come in with a large litter, and we know that rabbits reproduce quickly," Fritz said.

"And, of course, they are a little harder to adopt out, because people come here typically looking for a dog or cat. And they haven't really thought about a rabbit, which is unfortunate because they can make really great pets."

Don't fall for the rabbit myths, Humane Society says

Misconceptions about rabbits are persistent, Fritz says.

To prepare adopters, educational sessions — called "Rabbit 101" — will be offered so that the animal's needs are understood.

Myths that they live outside or in a cage will be dispelled at the workshops. Fritz says rabbits can be free-roaming, need space, use a litter box and can be integrated into families with dogs and cats.

"They're quite social and they do like to be around people when they are properly raised," Fritz said. "You do need to learn a little bit about them."

Calgary Humane Society executive director Carrie Fritz says bunnies 'have really unique personalities.' Over the years, she has owned five. (Mike Symington/CBC News)

The lifespan of a rabbit means that adopters should prepare for a lengthy responsibility — and a longtime friend.

"They say that they can live up to 10 years or more, so it is a commitment, but they're an amazing pet to have," Fritz said. 

"I actually own a rabbit, so I'm speaking from experience. She's actually the fifth rabbit that I've had in my life."

With files from Mike Symington

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