Houston & Peach

Centerville neighborhood hopping with rabbits; volunteers intervene to rescue

Volunteers crawl under shed to rescue baby rabbits

Georgia Rabbit House Society volunteers spent the day in Centerville, Georgia, Dec. 17, 2017, rescuing as many domesticated rabbits as they could before nightfall, said Jennifer McGee, who manages the shelter for the nonprofit.
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Georgia Rabbit House Society volunteers spent the day in Centerville, Georgia, Dec. 17, 2017, rescuing as many domesticated rabbits as they could before nightfall, said Jennifer McGee, who manages the shelter for the nonprofit.

Georgia House Rabbit Society volunteers rescued three baby and five adult rabbits Sunday in the Northridge Neighborhood of Centerville.

The 10 volunteers were out in the subdivision all day attempting to rescue as many rabbits as they could before nightfall, said Jennifer McGee, who manages the nonprofits shelter in Marietta.

“They’re all over the entire subdivision,” McGee said. “We had several residents that were really happy to see us because apparently the rabbits are destroying their gardens and they were actually burrowing holes.”

The rabbits are domesticated and not bred to live outside, McGee said.

Other residents were not happy to see rescue volunteers, including some who would not allow access to their property, hindering rescue efforts. A few residents were “quite belligerent,” McGee said.

She estimated that more than a dozen rabbits are still in need of rescue in the subdivision.

“The only reason why there’s not hundreds is because of the predators,” McGee said. “Rabbits multiply very quickly, and a dozen rabbits can very quickly become a hundred within 30 days.”

Four of the rescued rabbits are pregnant. All were malnourished and dirty. The baby rabbits are estimated to be 3 months old.

The former pets likely have been discarded in the subdivision and multiplied.

“They’re kind of just existing,” McGee said. “They’re hiding under sheds — basically just trying to survive. … They get hit by cars. They get mauled by dogs.”

The natural predators that the rabbits attract are also a danger to small dogs and cats living in the area, she said.

The rabbits are companion animals like cats and dogs.

“A lot of people assume they’re still livestock or that they can survive outside, and they can’t,” McGee said. “They're domestic rabbits.

“They have instinct to survive. And so, of course, our goal is to rescue rabbits — to get them spayed or neutered and healthy and in loving homes and put them up for adoption,” she said.

The rabbits were likely turned loose by an owner who no longer wanted them. Georgia House Rabbit Society is the only rabbit rescue group licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture in the state, she said.

The volunteers hope to return in the near future in hopes of rescuing other rabbits, she said.

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