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Rabbit rescue faces new challenges during the pandemic

Photo courtesy of Denika Robbins, Orlando Rabbit Care and Adoptions
Photo courtesy of Denika Robbins, Orlando Rabbit Care and Adoptions

The pandemic has made the work of animal rescue organizations a bit tougher. Members of Orlando Rabbit Care and Adoptions like Denika Robbins, Kathy Harter and Jessica Helmer are working to find homes for pet rabbits and battle a deadly disease that’s sweeping the rabbit population. 

The holidays are already busy for animal rescue organizations like Orlando Rabbit Care and Adoptions. On top of that, they’ve seen an increase in the number of abandoned and unwanted pets during the pandemic. 

“We are constantly full,” says Robbins. “We hate turning rabbits away, because honestly, the only alternative that people take is to set them free.” 

Harter says there’s an increased need for people to foster rabbits. 

Helmer says the organization will accept any length of time someone is willing to foster a rabbit, from two weeks to a year or more. 

Harter says the organization commits to taking the rabbit back if your life situation changes.

“That’s one of the great things about the rescues,” Helmer says. “You always have a support system...If you have any questions, if you have any concerns or if your life situation changes, you always have a support group and somebody that you can ask.”

The organization is also facing a new challenge- a deadly disease called hemorrhagic fever that has made its way up the east coast of the United States. 

“We’re trying to get the word out about preventing transmission,” says Robbins. 

Like COVID-19, the virus has a long staying power. Robbins says rabbit owners can bring the virus into their home on their shoes and through other pets like cats and dogs. 

She advises owners to keep their rabbits indoors and sanitize things that have been outdoors.

“Make sure that you wash your hands and clothing and everything when you come inside,” says Robbins, “just like with COVID.”