Category Archives: Rabbits

Rise in Rehoming Despite Recession

The number of animals being offered new homes is increasing at the Society for Abandoned Animals despite the tough economic times.

The rehoming figures for dogs, cats and rabbits are up by around 25% compared to this time last year, which is good news as more animals are being admitted to the sanctuary on a daily basis.

So far this year 13 dogs, 162 cats and 36 rabbits have found new homes after coming into the SAA’s care for a variety of reasons. This time last year, just 111 cats had been offered new homes.

Natasha with two new kittens

The Sanctuary Manager, Natasha Woest, is delighted with the figures: “We’re really pleased that more people across South Manchester are choosing to adopt abandoned animals. Our priority is to ensure the animal will fit in with a new owner’s lifestyle and we can also offer a wealth of advice about caring for a new pet.”

Earlier this year the sanctuary opened its newly refurbished kennels which has boosted the number of dogs the charity can care for.

Natasha says: “We’re delighted that we can offer sanctuary to more dogs as there are so many animals that need our care. We take in animals for all sorts of reasons and with more people needing to downsize or rent we’re taking in pets at an increasing rate. It’s good news for all our supporters and hardworking volunteers that these unwanted animals are finding good homes.”

The support of volunteers has been vital to the SAA’s rehoming success. A big rise in kittens has put pressure on the foster carers as many of the young animals need to be fed by hand several times a day. So far this year 177 cats have been admitted to the SAA, alongside 11 dogs and 49 rabbits.

Caring for that many animals takes time and costs a lot of money. The SAA has been finding new ways to raise money through selling items on Ebay and sponsored challenges. On the 1st September volunteer Darren Richardson walked 60 miles from the sanctuary to Blackpool dressed as a giant dog! Seven volunteers will also be taking on the London to Brighton cycle ride in aid of the SAA on the 16th September.

Closer to home there are always opportunities to donate or pop in to see the charity and take a look at the animals. Our next event is a party to celebrate what would have been the 99th birthday of the charity’s founder Peggy Henderson on the 8th September at the Chorlton Irish Club from 8pm.

Tickets for Peggy’s Birthday Bash cost £10 in advance and £12 on the door. People should email to buy them in advance.


Hopping into Spring at the SAA

Danny the Lionhead

If you’re bonkers about bunnies or just want to get close up to some lovely long eared rabbits then mark April 1st in your diary. We’re not pulling your leg! We really are having a Rabbit Care Day!

Doors open at 11am and there’ll be a chance to tour our new rabbit units in a special “behind the scenes” tour. You’ll get a chance to see where our rabbits live whilst they’re waiting for homes and learn more about how we care for them.

You’ll get to meet some of our fluffy favourites like Danny the Lionhead, our band of brothers who we’ve affectionately named Alvin, Simon and Theodore and Houdini who is a real character. You can hear all about the rabbits and why they were brought to the centre. All of them have great personalities and get up to all sorts of mischief when their units are being cleaned!

Alvin and Simon

If you already have a rabbit then you can book it in for a health check and vaccination anytime between 11am and 4pm. You must ring before April 1st so we can give you an appointment as the health checks are very popular.

There will be animal advisers on hand throughout the day on our education stall. They can offer tips on caring for your rabbit and some of the vital signs to look out for to ensure your bunny stays in good health. They know a lot about rabbits so please ask anything you like.

Another of our “behind the scenes” tours will take you to our new bunny boarding units which have been doubled in size. So if you’ve ever wondered what a 5* rabbit hotel looks like come down and see for yourself!

There will be refreshments as well as stalls selling all sorts of bargains. Pet toys and accessories will be on sale so even if you’re not a rabbit fan you can pick up a treat for your cat or dog.

Jasper the Rabbit

Jasper the Rabbit

So pop Rabbit Care Day in your diary for Sunday April 1st and hop down to Moseley Acre Farm to meet the team at the SAA and of course all our gorgeous bunnies. Even if you’re not raving about rabbits we’d love to see you, there’s something for every animal lover at the SAA.

One of our many bunnies looking for a new home

For Every ‘Peter Rabbit’ and ‘Benjamin Bunny’

Beatrix Potter, 'Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny collecting onions' © Frederick Warne & Co. 2006

The wonderful children’s stories by Beatrix Potter began with the Tale of Peter Rabbit, a mischievous little rabbit who went against his mothers wishes and ended up making himself sick by eating the wrong things and putting himself in danger by venturing too near the wrong people. These stories are often the catalyst behind a child’s declaration that they want to own a pet bunny! While the stories are simply that, the wonderous imaginings of a truly gifted children’s author, they have indirectly elicited an endemic of rabbits being kept as children’s pets.

For decades now, rabbits have been kept in hutches which in itself is not a bad way of keeping rabbits. This practice however dates back to times when rabbit was a cheap source of meat. Families would buy two live rabbits and allow them to breed creating a sustainable source of meat for the whole family. In these times, conditions in which rabbits were kept didn’t matter much. Thankfully, the idea of animal welfare has come on in leaps and bounds in the past few years and, thanks to some forward thinking people, so has rabbit awareness.

Rabbits are now no longer promoted as the disposable children’s pets which they have previously been though of as. Hutch sizes have increased dramatically and now, any pet retailer who knows his stuff will tell a potential rabbit owner which hutch is intended as a home and which is intended as a den. Rabbits are now known as social animals that need to interact with their own species in order to remain psychologically healthy. And, as Peter Rabbit found out, rabbits cannot survive on carrots alone and need a balanced diet high in fibre in order to remain physically healthy.

The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund is the leading advocate for rabbit welfare in the UK and this Monday (23rd may) marks the beginning of their campaign Rabbit Awareness Week 2011. During this week, veterinary practices, animal charities, pet shops and animal welfare organisations will all join forces to bring home the message of rabbit welfare and hopefully improves the lives of the millions of pet rabbit being kept in the UK.

Many vets practices are holding complimentary rabbit health checks during Rabbit Awareness Week which is well worth taking advantage off. Hundreds of rabbit charities around the country will be holding their own events too, and the Society for Abandoned Animals is no exception.

We will be holding a Rabbit Awareness event at Jolleys Petfood Superstore in Fallowfield on Saturday 28th May,  during which we will be helping new and prospective rabbit owners to set their pet rabbits off on the right track. We will also be on hand to help existing rabbit owners with any questions they have about their own rabbits.

As children are still so closely linked to rabbits and rabbit ownership we will be offering lots for kids to do during the day including face painting, colouring contests and a Name the Rabbit competition.

Even if you do not own a rabbit you will be able to do your bit for rabbit welfare by taking part in our ‘Buy a Bunny a Breakfast’ competition. For this competition you can feed one of the rabbits at our rehoming centre for just £1 and be entered into our free prize draw to win a fantastic rabbit hamper!

For further information feel free to contact us at the Society for Abandoned Animals on 01619735318 or by email direct to our animal care coodinator on

Brilliant Bunnies and Radient Rabbits!

 Last Sunday was the first of this years Rabbit Care Days  here at the Society for Abandoned Animals. We were offering complementary Rabbit health checks for all who attended with rabbits and had a vet performing low cost vaccinations in order to help the pet rabbits of Manchester be as healthy as possible.

The aim of the day was not only to help people who had been kind enough to adopt rabbits from us in the past but to help those who might not have otherwise taken their pets to see a vet. We managed to identify a number of minor health problems in rabbits that had never seen a vet before and potentially prevented those rabbits from developing serious health conditions.

An alarming percentage of the rabbits we saw were not neutered and were living alone. Their owners believed that as they were single rabbits that they did not have to be neutered as the risk of breeding was nonexistent. Many of these owners were shocked to hear about the health risks to domestic rabbits that have not been neutered, particularly with the high percentage of an unneutered female rabbit developing uterine cancer and unneutered males developing territorial aggression. We hope that by giving good advice endorsed by the Rabbit Welfare Association that we were able to help provide these rabbits with a better future and higher levels of welfare.

Other aspects of responsible rabbit ownership we were promoting included adequate accommodation size, rabbits as social animals and the possibility of keeping a rabbit as an indoor pet. Rabbits are still commonly seen as ‘disposable’ children’s pets with owners still believing that rabbits are cheap to keep and only live naturally for a few years.

The truth is that rabbits have been known to live into their teens and are notoriously expensive to keep, especially if they are taken twice yearly to a rabbits specialist vet. Rabbits are a big commitment and parents of children who want to adopt a rabbit should be fully prepared to take on the responsibility themselves when the children become bored of the commitment.

Hopefully last weekend we went some way to dispelling the myths surrounding domesticated rabbits and managed to improve the standard of welfare for a great number of local pet rabbits.

We also held games, stalls and even pony rides with our partner charity Urban Riderz to entertain all of our visitors, not just those with rabbits. One lucky visitor even won the grand prize of £25 of ‘Pet Life’ Vouchers!

The day was a fantastic success and as soon as we have the official figures in we will be letting you know via this blog our facebook and our twitter pages just how successful it really was!

A massive thank you goes out to all of the staff and volunteers who helped to make this day a fantastically enjoyable one for everyone!

2010, the year of the abandoned cat.

2010 has been a very hard year for all animal rescue shelters but for us, it was the hardest on record. We had to contend with problems and challenges coming at us from all sides and when you run on resources as limited as ours, keeping your head above the water is not easy.

As those of you who have been following this blog from its start last year will know, we had a crisis on our hands that could have resulted in this sanctuary, a much-needed and very much respected part of the local community, closing down for good. Due to higher demand for animal places and fewer donations coming in, we were running out of money fast. They say money makes the world go round and to us, money is the difference between being able to help an animal in need of a new home and having to stand by and watch that animal suffer. Without money we would not be here.

However, thanks to the fantastic efforts of our small team of staff and our massive group of dedicated volunteers we pulled through! Our campaign, the ‘Save our sanctuary’ campaign was picked up by out local newspaper group the Messenger and they followed us, running stories on our plight every week for he whole of our 3 month emergency appeal. With their help and more importantly yours, we were successful in reaching our target of £50,000 in just 3 months! This enabled us to keep functioning untill we could put other long-term plans into place that would secure our future for years to come. We are not there yet but thanks to you we are in a much better place now than this time last year.

There was unfortunately a down side to all of the local media attention we received. More people knowing where we are is undoubtedly a good thing, this means more people are aware of our situation and can come down to visit us or to volunteer with us. however, this also means that more people knew where to bring their unwanted animals. While this is what we are here to do, take in unwanted and abandoned animals, we do have very limited resources and we can’t help everyone. unfortunately, our situation was made harder to contend with by an excessive num,ber of animals being abandoned at our gates. We literally had animals coming out of our ears! For months now our foster homes have been maxed out with abandoned cats and kittens all in need of care and attention.

To give you an idea of our figures, during 2010 we took in 215 cats!! That is a lot of mouthes to feed!

We did, however manage to get through it! All of the animals left in our care received the best care and welfare standards we could provide and all have come through their ordeals in fantastic condition! This is all down to our fantastic team of staff and volunteers who spend hours each day grooming, playing and rehabilitating these very often traumatized animals.

We know times are hard for everyone at the moment, lots of people are loosing their jobs and are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Often in these situations the animals are the first thing people think of to give up. Please, if you are in this situation and feel you have no other option, speak to your local animal rescue shelters to see what help they can offer. I have no doubt in my mind that the people who leave an animals tied to our gates overnight think it is in the best interests of that animal but there is no way of knowing what could happen to the poor creature all on its own, defenseless and afraid.

The Five Freedoms – The Animal Owners Code

Animal welfare has really come into its own over the last few decades. People in every walk of life have gone from believing that an animal is a possession or a commodity to being a member of the family and something to be respected. This change in the way of our thinking has been difficult to achieve but it has made a world of difference for the animals we share our lives with.

The question now is how we make this change in thinking a reality for all of animals out there in homes and rehoming centres all around the world.

One way of doing this is by making sure each and every one of us keeps to and respects the 5 freedoms. The 5 freedoms were set out initially by the Farm Animal Welfare Council to protect the lives and welfare of every animal out there. Together they form a code of conduct for owners to live by in order to provide the best level of welfare possible for their animals. If all of us live by these simple rules then no animal would ever have to suffer from neglect or cruelty ever again.

The 5 freedoms include the following:

1) Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition – This relates to your pets diet, it must be enough that the animal does not lose condition but not so much that it becomes overweight. Read the package of food you are feeding it for feeding recommendations or contact your vet to discuss specific dietary requirements.

2) Freedom from discomfort – This related to discomfort caused by living arrangements. Specifically regarding shelter from the elements and the ability to rest comfortably. A dog living outside with no shelter and only a hard concrete or flagged floor to sleep on would go against this freedom.

3) Freedom from pain, injury and disease – This relates specifically to the health of your pet. Nothing that happens to your pet should cause it any unnecessary pain or suffering. This is the hardest one to live by as there are naturally times when an owner must cause the animal pain for its own benefit. Recovery from surgery can be a very painful time for an animal but it is in the animals best interests. Training using punishment techniques is now generally frowned upon as being barbaric and ineffective, mainly because in the time between the animal performing the undesired behaviour and you punishing them for it they have already done something else like sitting down. The animals would therefore think it was wrong to sit down. (Training behaviours in and out of dogs will be covered in a later article.)

4) Freedom to express normal behaviour – This relates to providing the animal with enough space and resources that it may express itself in its natural way dictated by the animals genetics. In the case of rabbits that would be providing it with another rabbit as company, with things to chew and wear down its teeth on and a bedding that it can dig and burrow in.

5) Freedom from fear and distress – This is another difficult one, how do you ensure that your animal is not scared? The answer is you can’t, not all the time, but you can take every opportunity to ensure that your animal is as safe and secure as it could be. Again, using rabbits as an example, they should be provided with a shelter that protects them from the sight and sounds of foxes or other natural predators. For example a hutch should have a solid wood door on at least one section where the rabbits can hide.

In many ways it is difficult to love by all of these rules all of the time but it should not be. These rules are designed to provide guideline that will stop an animal from suffering. If all of us lived by these freedoms and applied them to our daily lives then no animal would suffer needlessly ever again.

Now wouldnt that be a fantastic world to live in.

Year Of The Rabbit

Why is this year the year the chinese year of the rabbit? Well, why not? Rabbits are fantastic!! Every year should be for rabbits if you ask me! Who doesn’t love the sight of a cheeky bunny running round with a scrap of carefully torn newspaper clasped between their little bunny teeth?

Rabbits make fantastic pets and are very easy to look after if you know what you are doing. But beware, they are frail little creatures so you really should do your research before adopting a bunny for the first time. As any good rabbit owner will tell you, myself included, rabbits are simply fabulous to have around regardless of whether they are in a hutch in the garden or in an indoor pen.

We are all just bunny bonkers at the Society for Abandoned Animals!

So why not join us>? Come down for a chart and to view our animals and who knows, maybe you could soon be adopting a brilliant lucky new years bunny!

Here are a few of our rabbits that are still looking for loving homes, all with their own personality quirks and habits! So why not come down and see them in the fur?


<———  **MOONPIG**



 **LEYLAND** ——->



<—– **HOLLY & IVY**