Two rabbits share one of the cages at the Oakland Animal Services shelter–they hop around, sniffing, stretching out their hind legs and paws, and wagging their little tails. Then they cuddle up with each other.
Meenie and Mynie are five-month-old sisters and a bonded pair; one is honey-brown with big floppy ears that hang down the side of her head and the other, with the same floppy ears, is a brown and gray calico.
Bonded pairs are not the norm for rabbits; it occurs when there’s a special connection between two who do everything together and are extremely affectionate with each other.
But at animal shelters, bonded pairs are even harder to get adopted because there are two of them–and it’s already hard enough to find homes for abandoned rabbits in Oakland.
Meenie and Mynie are just two of the 31 rabbits up for adoption at the Oakland Animal Services shelter. Rabbits are the third most euthanized animal in the United States–after cats and dogs–and the third most in need of adoption. From July 2009 to July 2010, 164 rabbits were abandoned at Oakland Animal Services; right now the shelter is maxed out on its space for rabbits.
Part of the Oakland Police Department, Oakland Animal Services is both an Animal Control unit–which is in charge of the city’s public safety and animal welfare–and the shelter, which helps abused, neglected and abandoned animals within its facility. Once brought into the shelter, animals are taken care of by staff and volunteers.
Oakland Animal Services also partners with other organizations for those animals that need extra care. For rabbits, they work with SaveABunny, which is based in Mill Valley, CA. SaveABunny is a nonprofit that specializes in rescuing rabbits that are facing euthanasia at shelters due to health or behavior problems, as well as overcrowding.
“Right now, Oakland has a sick rabbit that has to come out,” says Marcy Schaaf, founder of SaveABunny. “She has an abscess on her face and abscesses can be very serious.”
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