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August 23, 2011 > Bunnies galore

Bunnies galore

By Simon Wong
Photos By Gary Gin

The Hayward Animal Shelter has had a recent influx of rabbits. The Shelter prefers to have no more than three in residence at any given time, ideally none at all. In the absence of adopters, the numbers are thinned through euthanasia.

"Over the past month or so, six bunnies have arrived at the Shelter. All are very special, i.e. sociable, spunky and very adoptable. We'd prefer not to have any; that would mean they're in happy homes," said Hayward Animal Shelter Volunteer Christina Gin. "Also, the Shelter has been severely short-staffed recently; we're concerned about what might eventually happen to the bunnies if they are not adopted soon."

Snowcone is a five/six-month old Himalayan boy, weighing about four pounds. He is a true teddy bear bunny, loves nothing more than to be cuddled, is calm and gentle and would be great for a family with rabbit-savvy children.

Shadow, who also weighs four pounds, is a four-month old silver boy bunny. He is a loving individual, whose owner could no longer keep him, looking for a home with a family that will love him as much as he will love them back.

Marshmallow, four-five month old Californian boy, weighs approximately five pounds, is friendly and sweet, just a delight. He would be good company for someone looking for a friend for their single bunny at home.

Zoe is a three-four month old English Spot girl and weighs about four pounds. Although a little shy, she is a very nice girl with eyeliner around her eyes and spots along her back.

James, a three-four month old Himalayan boy, weighs three-and-a-half pounds. He is a little baby and flops on to his side when he is happy, i.e. around people and other bunnies. He is friendly and loves to be held.

Cary Grant is an adult Rex bunny, jet-black, about six-and-a-half pounds. He has curly rex fur, soft and puffy like a cloud. He is very handsome a gentleman with a mischievous streak.

The Shelter is fortunate to have Anne Martin, a rabbit expert, as a volunteer. Martin offers the following advice:

"Rabbits make wonderful companions and love to be part of the family. Rabbits should be housed indoors, as outdoor rabbits' lives are often cut short by heat, disease and predators. Spayed/neutered rabbits, like the Hayward Animal Shelter bunnies, are easy to litter-box train; give the rabbit a medium-size cat box containing rabbit-safe litter and hay and the rabbit will litter-box train himself," she explains.

"Rabbit rescue groups recommend housing an indoor rabbit in a puppy exercise pen, which provides plenty of space for the rabbit to hop and lounge and keeps them safe while the owner is absent. When the owner is at home, the bunny can run free in the house, like a cat. If owners prefer a cage, ideally, it should be approximately four-feet long. It's important to protect electrical wires, as rabbits will chew through them and can be electrocuted. Hardware stores sell plastic cord protectors or cords can be routed behind heavy furniture in space that the rabbit can't access. Toys like willow balls or fresh apple branches will entertain your rabbit and make it less likely that he'll chew your things.

"The main part of a rabbit's diet is hay. Rabbits should have unlimited Timothy or Orchard Grass hay, a salad of mixed greens every day, and 1/8th of a cup of rabbit food pellets. When selecting a rabbit food pellet, choose a Timothy hay-based pellet with no nuts/seeds/fruit. For salads, rabbits love: dark leafy greens (e.g. kale and collards), lettuces (e.g. romaine and red leaf (no iceberg)), herbs (e.g. cilantro and parsley)," stated Martin.

Rabbits adopted from the Hayward Animal Shelter receive a free vet visit to Eden Pet Hospital, Castro Valley. A rabbit should have a check-up, annually or as needed, with a vet. A rabbit's nails should be trimmed once every other month. Every second Saturday of the month, rabbits from the Hayward Animal Shelter are showcased at Pet Food Express, Fremont, where owners can take their rabbits for a free nail trim.

Additionally, there are dogs, cats, guinea pigs and other critters available for adoption at the Hayward Animal Shelter. The Shelter's adoption events help find animals new homes but the public should remember they do not have to wait for these occasions to find a pet. The Shelter is open to the public Tuesday through Friday (noon to 5 p.m.) and on Saturdays (11 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and is closed every last Saturday of the month except for lost animals.

For more information about rabbit care, visit the House Rabbit Society at

Animal Adoption
Tuesday - Friday
Noon - 5 p.m.
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Hayward Animal Shelter
16 Barnes Court, Hayward
(510) 293-7200, ext. 7

Hayward Animal Shelter Adoption Fees

Female cats/kittens: $107
Male cats/kittens: $97
Female dogs/puppies: $168.50
Male dogs/puppies: $143.50
Male and female rabbits: $50
All other animals - turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, etc.: $20.

Dog and cat fees include sterilization, shots (rabies, DHPPV and Bordatella for dogs/puppies, and an FVRCP vaccination for cats/kittens), a microchip, a cardboard carrier for cats, and a license for dogs if the adopters are Hayward residents. If the adopter lives outside the City of Hayward, the license fee is deducted.

If a pet enters the shelter already spayed or neutered, the fee is reduced because the shelter does not have to subsidize the procedure.

Low-cost Spay/Neuter certificates are available to Hayward residents whose pets are intact (proof of residency required):

Male cat/kitten: $20
Female cat/kitten: $35
Male dogs: $45
Female dogs: $60

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