Great Chishill woman sacrificed social life to care for unwanted pet rabbits

Caroline Collings with Bacardi the rabbit.

Caroline Collings with Bacardi the rabbit. - Credit: Archant

A woman who has sacrificed her social life to care for unwanted pet rabbits is calling on owners to take more care when looking after their bunnies.

Rabbit Residence Rescue owner Caroline Collings, who started out with space for 40 rabbits at her Great Chishill centre in 2001, now has more than 200 unwanted bunnies at any one time.

Despite ‘immense improvement’ of animal welfare over the years, the spectrum of rabbit ownership has widened – and in turn the burden placed on Caroline’s shoulders.

The 36-year-old said: “I have made many personal sacrifices to make this possible. I have only ever been able to afford to rent a room.

“I have sacrificed a social life, the chance to have a relationship or start a family, yet the number of people who beg me to take rabbits from them continues.

“They often look at me blankly with no thanks and not an offer of a penny. They have little understanding of how hard each week is, not knowing if enough funding will come in to care for the animals, yet are horrified at the idea of euthanasia.

“We do not put an animal to death unless it’s in a rabbit’s interest, which means we are spending more than £700 on operations to save rabbits’ lives.

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“This money comes purely from kind donations and the occasional small grant from animal trusts. I work seven days a week and to have time off takes a lot of organisation with my amazing bunny angel volunteers.

“Our waiting list has more than 100 rabbits on it all year round and though we home about three bunnies a week to amazing new homes, people continue to dump them on our doorstep every day.

“People are giving rabbits away for free online regardless of their health and often breeding major problems into thousands of rabbits.

“In the right situation, rabbits are your best friends, with as much character as dogs and cats. They can be intelligent, funny, charismatic and adorable.

“Please think about all the rescue workers and volunteers this Easter and the true bigger picture of owning a pet.

“A pet is not an object to own but a family member to love and adore for all of his or her life.”

For more information, or to make a donation to the charity, call Caroline on 07904 397378 or visit