Too many companion rabbits and other companion animals end up in the shelter system or worse because of poorly thought out decisions to acquire them, because of misunderstandings, and because of unrealistic expectations. To be a responsible rabbit guardian, you must adhere to these values:
- Make no impulse decisions no matter how adorable the rabbit in question may be. Obtain a rabbit only after you understand the joys and pitfalls of rabbit behavior and care and have decided that you can live happily with a rabbit in the house.
- Rabbits, like all animals, are living, feeling beings, not a disposable inanimate object or toy. Rabbits are to be kept in the house as members of the family. Rabbits in hutches cannot offer the delights of a house rabbit and are apt to become "burdens" to be "disposed of."
- The goal of rabbit care is based on what is mentally and physically healthy for the rabbit and what will promote longevity. Care that is based on what looks good at shows and what sells are not consistent with responsible guardianship.
Responsible Rabbit Guardianship Means You Have Concluded That:
- Your living situation permits companion animals. If you move, you will find a place where they can live with you even if it is overseas.
- You have sufficient physical and financial stability to provide a permanent home for your rabbit for as long as he or she lives (8-13 years or more).
- No one is allergic to rabbits or hay in your household.
- You are committed to solving any problem that arises in the relationship between you and your rabbit.
- You understand how rabbits breed and are committed to preventing it.
- You have committed to making your home a safe environment for your rabbit.
- You have committed to learning about rabbits and spending time with them.
- An adult family member has primary responsibility for the rabbit. The rabbit will remain part of the family even if the children who wanted him/her have lost interest.
- You will not have more rabbits and other animals that you can responsibly care for.