With storms and flooding set to continue across the UK, the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) has voiced concern for domestic rabbits still being kept outside.
In an open letter to British rabbit owners, Rae Todd, CEO of the Somerset-based national charity dedicated to improving the welfare of rabbits, wrote: “It looks like the miserable weather is going to carry on even longer, with forecasts of storms, snow and floods for the UK. The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) sympathise with everybody who has been affected by the terrible conditions and wish everybody luck with what’s to come.
“We know that people have a lot to worry about but please take a moment to think about your pet rabbits if they’re kept outside. Please make sure you take steps to protect them, both from the cold and the wet.
“If you have outdoor rabbits we are urging owners to please consider bringing them indoors until the worst of the weather has passed. Rabbits are very clean animals and can be litter trained easily. Pick an area like a utility room or spare room and make sure they have their litter tray, hayrack and water.
“Take care to make sure they can not get to any cables and if they will be going back outside, you will need to keep them in an unheated room as they will suffer if taken from a warm place and put back out into the cold.
“If you must keep them outside, please bear in mind that a lot of the hutches available, especially cheap imports, will not be able to withstand this extreme weather. Lids can blow off, hutches will leak and offer no protection at all to the rabbits inside. Hutches should be moved to an unused shed or garage where possible.
“If you are in a flood area, you need to ensure hutches are high enough off the ground even if in a building. In some areas this is entirely impractical and you need to move them somewhere safer.
“We know this is a difficult time for everybody but domestic rabbits can’t take steps to protect themselves so please take the time to do it for them.”