NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Jennie Hoyt has a passion for animals and has been working at a local animal shelter for a long time.
She wanted to do something to protect the animals when she started to notice the number of homeless pet rabbits in our area and the reasons some people were adopting them.
"I had people saying they were feeding them to their snakes, the hunters using the rabbits to train their dogs," Hoyt said. "I just could not believe the issues going on with rabbits and there wasn't much being done to stop it."
Hoyt believes the low cost of $3 to adopt rabbits from a shelter is attracting the wrong type of customers. It's important to note, the rabbits that Hoyt rescues were once someone's pet.
"A lot of people don't understand," she explained. "I hear people say, 'What do you need to rescue rabbits for, aren't they wild?' No, they are not wild they are pet rabbits and there are the same kind of issues going on with them as there is cats and dogs."
Hoyt said rabbits are a third top pet, next to dogs and cats, but are the most neglected, overlooked, and exploited out of the group. As a result, she started her own rescue organization called New Hanover County Rabbit Rescue, but says that only solved half of the problem.
Hoyt said part of the issue is people are not getting their rabbits spayed and neutered, causing unplanned breeding.
"A lot of people are having unintentional litters, and then they are dumping the babies," she said. "I have already had a few of those already."
Hoyt is making sure to get her rescue rabbits fixed to help stop the problem of unwanted breeding or breeding for wrong reasons. Although, fixing a rabbit is a lot more complicated than you would think.
Hoyt said rabbits are prey animals so they are very sensitive to anesthesia so it doesn't take a lot to shock their system, so it's a risky surgery for veterinarians. On top of that, rabbits are considered exotic pets so the cost to spay or neuter a rabbit can be anywhere from $150 to $200, which is a discouraging cost to the general public.
Hoyt said her goal is to setup a low cost spay and neuter clinic in our area to help offset the number of homeless rabbits.
If you are interested in adopting a rabbit contact Jennie Hoyt. Click here for more information.