Adopting a better policy

Best Friends Animal Society joined animal welfare advocates around the country in applauding PETCO's decision to stop selling rabbits at its 900 stores and to partner with rescue groups to find homes for rabbits available for adoption.

"This is a monumental decision by PETCO," says Debby Widolf, coordinator of outreach and advocacy for Best Friends’ Bunny House. "They are a massive retailer in every state of the country. By only offering rabbits for adoption, they will help reduce rabbit surrender and euthanasia rates. And that is very exciting.

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"A big thank-you goes out to PETCO and the animal welfare groups who worked with them. This decision is one of kindness and compassion that will help homeless rabbits find loving homes."

PETCO’s decision to stop rabbit sales is due in large part to the tireless grassroots efforts of the national House Rabbit Society, humane workers and volunteers.

The House Rabbit Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing rabbits and educating the public, blames thousands of cases of neglect, abandonment and euthanasia on impulse purchases of rabbits at pet stores. As of 2008, House Rabbit Society volunteers alone have rescued more than 20,000 rabbits – the vast majority purchased through pet stores and breeders.

PETCO will stop selling rabbits immediately. Beginning early in 2009, the only rabbits available at its stores should be from shelters or rescue organizations as part of PETCO’s Think Adoption First program.

The company already has relationships with about 70 rabbit rescue groups and is communicating with the House Rabbit Society to build additional relationships with local chapters and affiliates.

Is a rabbit right for you?

If you’re interested in adding a rabbit to your family, please determine if it’s a good fit for both you and the bunny.

"They require as much care, and sometimes more, than a dog or cat," Debby says. "That doesn’t mean they can’t be fabulous pets, of course. They can even be litter-box-trained."

She describes the perfect rabbit home as one that "makes the rabbit a family member." Find the right match and you’ve found a friend for life.

And should you decide that your future has big ears and a fluffy tail, consider adopting one from the Best Friends Bunny House, where there are dozens of adorable candidates in all shapes and sizes, all kinds of personalities, and each one deserving a great home.

For instance, there’s the ever-handsome Garret. This little fuzz ball is so overloaded with good looks that his face ended up on a Bunny House t-shirt. He’s a bit shy, but once he gets to know you, he can be quite the charmer.

His best pal in the whole wide world is Holly, another adoptable rabbit. She came from an overcrowded shelter and it was almost curtains for her. Luckily for Holly, a rescue group got her out just in time. And luckily for Garret, she came to Best Friends, where the two of them are now inseparable. Their greatest wish would be to grow old together in a great home.

Some of the rabbits are young and full of energy, and some are older and ready to snuggle. And still others have special needs. Trooper, for example, only has three legs. But no worries, his friend BonBon keeps him hopping. She also has a few special needs, yet they’re both super-friendly and love being petted. They, too, would be thrilled to find a home together.

Written by Cheri Moon and David Dickson

Homepage and thumbnail photos by Clay Myers

Above photo by Best Friends staff photographers

Join the Best Friends Rabbits community on the Best Friends Network to learn more about how you can support bunny and guinea pig rescue.

You can find information on the basic care and behavior of rabbits in the Best Friends pet care library.

The work of Best Friends is possible only because of your generous support. Please help us reach our goal of No More Homeless Pets.