She wrote a letter asking to rescue her neighbor’s rabbit…

Some animals are just not house pets…

The rescued animals that come to Celestial Farms arrive from all over. They find us in many different ways. Often, they come from homes where the people tried to raise the animal in their home like a pet before finding out that certain animals are really not meant to be house pets. A duck (like our Cody) is not a puppy. Yes, some few people do successfully keep rabbits, chickens, and small pigs in their homes. The pictures and stories that come from these are usually adorable and heartwarming. Please remember that these successful stories come from people who often keep only a single animal, and that animal is very well-cared-for, as if it was the carer’s own child. Many people who attempt to bring these animals in, are not prepared for the amount of extra effort it takes to give them fulfilling lives.

rescue, for animals, david bowie, pig, farmer, celestial farms,

Rabbits are more of a handful than you might think…

For example, Facebook blogger Wall and Molly informs readers about the extra care needed to keep Angora rabbits (and most breeds of rabbits) as house pets. One factor is that Angoras need either constant brushing or “clippies” which is what gives Wally such a unique look. He is adorable and she is both funny and informative. Here is some advice Molly gave last week:

While I’m truly honored that Wally is so loved, it’s very unwise to buy an Angora – or any breed of rabbit – without sufficient knowledge or preparation. Wally is my third rabbit, and even after years of learning about rabbit behavior, care, and safety, Angoras’ special grooming needs have required a great deal of patience, time, and dedication. Rabbits are neither simple nor easy pets. Behaviors that CAN BE typical for rabbits (meaning that they are simply being rabbits!) include chewing on fabric, wood, and furniture, peeing on beds/couches, biting, scratching, thumping, hiding in small spaces, being fearful and mistrustful of people, struggling for freedom when being picked up, and skillfully escaping enclosures. You must be ready to appropriately respond to these behaviors and willing to understand what your rabbit is attempting to communicate and then listen to your rabbit. I really believe that there are no “bad” rabbits (whether they destroy your sofa or bite you with seemingly no apparent reason) – there are only people who have unrealistic expectations of the greatly misunderstood rabbit. Happy rabbits require a SIGNIFICANT amount of research and preparation. Angoras require even more. Please, don’t get a rabbit – and especially not an Angora – if you cannot be CERTAIN that you can provide the rabbit with an environment and level of care that is critical to the bunny’s wellbeing. This includes spaying/neutering, paying for vet bills, never confining them to small cages, litter box training, understanding that many rabbits do not tolerate being picked up or handled by children, buying fresh greens several times per week, providing unlimited hay, and being observant of their eating and elimination patterns, as they are masters at hiding health problems because they are prey animals. Rabbit.org is an informative website. If you can’t follow all guidelines on this website, you may not be ready for a rabbit, which suggests that an Angora would be a VERY difficult first rabbit. Thanks for reading! Wally says, “We’re looking out for my BUNNY FRIENDS!”

wally

Which brings us to the rescue request that prompted this article…

This week, we received a contact through our website. She was very concerned that her neighbor had put their pet rabbit outside after failing to litter-box train it. She describes an un-bunny-friendly enclosure and wonders if we can do anything to rescue this animal from her neighbor.

Rescue Request

She Says…

“We have a neighbor who has turned their domestic rabbit outdoors because it is not litter trained. He is being kept in a dog crate with no protection from the heat, rain or predators. Can you rescue this rabbit or [k]now anyone that can take him?”

First let me say, rescue requests tend to break our hearts…

Many animals come to us from people who have found out that they didn’t anticipate what the critter would need, and have decided that it might be happier with other animals or in another home. If you have realized that you and your pet are not a good match, that the animal is unhappy, that they would be better off somewhere else, that you got in over your head this time… we are here. If we are not prepared for that particular animal (if we do not currently have an appropriate enclosure or are at capacity in a pen) we will do our best to find a place that is prepared to take it off yours hands. Keep in mind that we are not a cat or dog rescue, but we do have room for small animals such as chinchillas and rabbits as well as the larger livestock and horses.

We can not actually rescue the animal against the owner’s will…

Some of our saddest and most dramatic rescues are from situations where Animal Control or other authorities had to remove the animal due to abuse or neglect. A prime example of this is our star goat Gruff. Many other animals died in the attack that brought him to us. Gruff’s was an extreme case involving an attack by a disturbed individual and was not (thankfully) what this concerned person wrote to us about this week. This case is similar to (but much less dramatic or critical than) one we became involved in months ago. We have no power to remove an animal from someone. Animal Control (in Jacksonville, Animal Care and Protective Services) can do this, but it is a long process. Here is our Facebook post from February about it:

This past weekend, I had a good experience with Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control. This has prompted me…

Posted by Celestial Farms on Friday, February 12, 2016\

In case the embedded link doesn’t load quickly, here is the quote:

This past weekend, I had a good experience with Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control. This has prompted me to inform people how difficult it is to remove animals from an unsafe situation, but not impossible.

This home had been burned in 2013. 3 dogs, 2 rabbits and flock of chickens still live in the yard. The conditions were deplorable. The dogs nails were so long that the little one had a hard time walking. The poodle mix was filthy and matted. When examined on Saturday, there was no food or water. By Sunday, someone else had come and poured more food. There was also food in a shed that none of the animals had access to.

The rabbits lived in their waste. There was a dead chicken in the coop that the others had eaten on. There was no clean or dry place for any of them as temperatures were dropping below freezing.

After a neighbor and myself alerted the non-emergency number, 3 patrol cars responded as well as Animal Control. Within the hour, the owners also arrived. Evidently, there has been an open case on these animals for 1 1/2 years and PETA has also visited this address. As long as the owners are making an attempt to correct the problems, they can keep the animals. There was nothing legally that could be done to help these animals and the local enforcement has their hands tied. The owners have rights and until the animals look like they are in danger of death (not counting the chicken already dead) then there is nothing we can do. It was frustrating for everyone and disheartening for the animals. The enforcement team really did everything they could do to help. I do appreciate the timely and respectful manner in which they handled themselves.

A picture can be found here.

It is very difficult to have an animal removed from another person. All people have rights, even if we don’t agree with how the individual is using them. In order to not violate individual rights, many chances are given to improve living conditions and begin properly caring for the animals. Owners can be fined, given warnings, or given deadlines to make improvements. The more reports that come in, the worse the conditions are, in time the animals will be removed.

What you should probably do for the animal if you think it needs rescue…

A more appropriate response (and some advice we gave the person who contacted us) for any other individual who finds themselves in a similar situation might first be to approach the neighbor and tell them about Celestial Farms. Here, not only would the rabbit have a very nice, newly renovated bunny colony – with food and shelter and protection from predators – but the owner would also be able to come and visit, and even give treats to the rabbit, as well as the other animals on the farm. If a child is the reason for wanting to keep the rabbit in the home, there is no doubt in my mind that the child would prefer Fluffy to be happy and would be overjoyed to visit with other bunnies as well. Be sure that you are more supportive than confrontational. The individual may not think there are options for them. Americans do not like to “give up” if we can keep going, no matter how uncomfortable it may be – for the animal. Many people think only dogs and cats can be rescued by the local shelter.

As in most situations in life, it is ALWAYS easier for all parties involved if the one responsible admits to not being up to the challenge and finds a more suitable situation for the creature. If you or someone you know has an animal that would be better re-homed, we can help with that. Our main goal for rescues is to re-home them. Some do become permanent residents here at Celestial Farms, if that is best for the animal. Each is evaluated on an individual basis, medical care is provided as necessary, love and treats are both given liberally.

If, on the other hand, you see deplorable conditions like the situation from February and the owners are unwilling to relinquish the animals, and you feel Animal Care and Protective Services needs to be involved, call 630-CITY (2489) or Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office JSO non-emergency can be reached at (904) 630-0500.