The Humane Society for Southwest Washington isn’t known for sheltering and adopting rabbits. But now it’s kicking off its first, and possibly last, Bunny Palooza on Wednesday.
The event lasts until April 9 and if you’ve ever wanted to cuddle with your own pet rabbit, you have dozens of bunnies to choose from at the shelter.
The Humane Society typically only has a few rabbits in its shelter at any given time, according to Lisa Feder, the organization’s vice president for shelter operations. But in response to an unusually large hoarding situation, the Humane Society now has 107 rabbits at its shelter that it’s looking to adopt out.
Last month, Clark County Animal Control responded to a situation where a family surrendered the rabbits as well as 23 chickens and 21 guinea pigs. In response to the situation, animal control, which contracts with the Humane Society for shelter services, reverted to an emergency plan that called for sheltering the rabbits at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds while the organization made space at its headquarters.
“We don’t have large numbers of rabbits,” Feder told The Columbian at the time. “It’s not our forte. It’s not what we do best.”
But now Denise Barr, the Humane Society’s vice president of marketing, said that the organization has cleared out space for the rabbits at its shelter and they had their last day at the fairgrounds on March 23. At the shelter, Barr said they have steadily spayed and neutered in preparation for Bunny Palooza, an adoption event that begins today and runs through Sunday.
“Right now, they are all here and are almost all spayed and neutered,” said Barr.
Barr said the Humane Society has moved some of the rabbits to its front lobby and community education room for the event while others will be at its thrift store at 5000 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd. and at Orchards Feed at 10902 N.E. Rosewood Ave. Barr didn’t have figures on how much caring for the rabbits cost the nonprofit, but said the Humane Society is asking for a $25 donation to offset the expenses of caring for the animals.
“Each adopter will get a $10 off coupon at Orchards for bunny supplies and feed,” she added.
According to Barr, the Humane Society recommends prospective rabbit owners do some research on the animals, which are different from cats and dogs. Although she did note that rabbits can be trained to do their business in a litter box.
The 23 chickens went to a farm the Humane Society works with in situations like this one. The 21 guinea pigs went to Portland Guinea Pig Rescue and were split between two foster homes, said Suzy Badaracco, a volunteer and board member of the rescue.
She said that her organization has been working on spaying the females and also tending to the bite marks, scratches and infections on the others.
Animal Control Manager Paul Scarpelli didn’t respond to requests for comment on the situation. Badaracco said there are no outward signs of abuse or neglect.
“I think the family did the best they could,” said Badaracco. “They were all housed in one space. When you have a big herd, there will be squabbling. I think that the family was overwhelmed.”