The Carrot Tribune - September 2017

The Carrot Tribune

In this issue...

  • Basic Bunny Class Sept. 9
  • Hoppy Hour Sept. 23
  • Bunny of the Month
  • Figueroa Mountain Bunnies Update
  • Remembering Bunny Festival
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Basic Bunny and Guinea Pig Class

1:00 to 2:00 - Handling and Husbandry
2:00 to 2:30 - Training

Bring your Rabbit or Guinea Pig. Learn easy handling and care-taking during the first hour, then for the last half hour play training games that are fun for you and your pet! 

$5.00 for an individual
$10.00 for a family
Free to BUNS volunteers

All classes are in the Humane Society Education Building, at 5399 Overpass Rd, Goleta, (to the east  of the Animal Shelter)

Our next class is September 9. Join us on our Facebook event page to learn more! 

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September Hoppy Hour

Note: after a late start last month, we're back to our usual starting time!

Bring your fuzzy friend, September 23 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM and give them an opportunity to socialize with other rabbits! Socialization is a very important part of overall rabbit welfare, and a Hoppy Hour is the perfect opportunity to let your bunny play with others. 

Hoppy Hour will take place on the Humane Society Lawn, at 5399 Overpass Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93111. Admission is $10 per rabbit. All animals must be healthy and rabbits must have been spayed or neutered at least 30 days in advance.

We'll be providing light refreshments for both you and your bunny, so please join us for an afternoon of fun!

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Figueroa Mountain Bunnies Update

BUNS took eleven of the bunnies that had been abandoned on Figueroa Mountain.  Sadly, two of the rabbits died of myxomatosis within a week of rescue.  To avoid exposing all the shelter rabbits to myxomatosis, we placed the survivors in quarantine. Quarantine is over. Four of the rabbits have been spayed. They will be available for adoption by September 9. The rest will be adoptable shortly after that. 

Ed. note: The following thoughts on the Figueroa Mountain bunnies comes from longtime volunteer Jean Silva:

Two weeks after the rabbits were rescued I got a call from a woman who left the rabbits at Figueroa Mountain.  She had been out of town and returned to find news paper stories. She called to explain what she had done.  She said that they were meat rabbits that had been abandoned on her property. They had been left sitting in the sun in a stack of “old raccoon traps” and covered by a tarp and a quilt.  The rabbits were in poor condition.

She kept the rabbits for a couple of months. They slaughtered the males for meat as “that was what they were for.”  The does lived un-caged. With better food and living conditions the does’ health improved.  Some of them, she said, though developed diarrhea. She said that she did not keep them in cages and wanted them to have as much time as possible as free rabbits. Eventually she was no longer able to care for them. She released them on Figueroa Mountain so that they would have some time to run free.  When I asked why they did not bring the rabbits to the shelter, she replied they were meat rabbits.  

The conversation left me with lots to think about. What makes a meat rabbit vs a pet rabbit? Why does releasing a domestic rabbit seem kind? For me, all rabbits, like all dogs are pets. The fact that some people eat them, does not, for me, change them into meat. The Figueroa Mountain bunnies may not have been young or small, but they are gentle, sweet, like to be petted and use their litter box.  They are perfectly nice rabbits and will make good pets.  They are much more than meat.  

As for releasing a domestic rabbit into nature, I find it difficult to see that as a kind act.  Rabbits who are dumped in nature must be like the survivors whose small planes go down in the wilderness.  They struggle mightily to find shelter, food and water.  They endure extremes of temperature and are attacked by predators.  That was what happened to the Figueroa Mountain bunnies. The rabbit bodies littering the mountain gave testimony to their struggle.These are not stories of an idyllic life, they are stories of suffering, hardship and, in the end, luck. The unlucky do not tell their stories.

In the end, Benjamin Franklin says it best: “So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.”

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Remembering Bunny Festival

This year is the 25th anniversary of BUNS! We're celebrating by sharing stories from our volunteers about their experiences with BUNS. This month's story comes from Jean Silva:

Bunny Festival seemed like the answer to the big challenge in the early days of BUNS. More rabbits came to the shelter than were adopted.  We had to reduce intake and increase adoptions. Spaying and neutering the rabbits became a priority. Just a quickly we needed to raise the money to pay the vet.  And, we needed to adopt more rabbits.  by 1997 the answer seemed to be Bunny Festival.

The first Bunny Festival was supposed to be like most Santa Barbara Festivals.  We planned on lots of artists selling their wares.  Like the 4th of July at the Mission.  The plan was to raise about $35,000 from vendor fees.  But, it didn’t work out.  All the artists were at the beach on Sunday so none of them signed up.  Other rescues, who sold bunny supplies, signed up as vendors, but as a big source of revenue it never worked out.

Not to worry, we would have rabbits available for adoption. That would lower the shelter’s population.  That did not work out either.  Lots of people wanted to see and pet bunnies. Some even filled out adoption applications, but most of them changed their minds.

But BUNS is nothing if not persistent.  So for the next 15 years we held Bunny Festival.  People loved the event. To this day we get questions about Bunny Festival.  I won’t deny that there were lots of great moments. But they all came with very hard work.

Spa Bunne was my favorite. We groomed lots of bunnies and guinea pigs. But most important people saw a vet. Every year we would find at least one bunny that really needed that vet visit. 

Then there was Laura Stinchfield the Pet Psychic.  Each year people would tell me things their bunny said.  Nancy’s bunny said that she did not like the neighbor’s cat staring at her. Rosemary’s bunnies said their favorite game was tug - but Rosemary never played tug with them.  Days after Bunny Fest, Rosemary open some fruit leather and as usual called her bunnies. They ran up, took hold of the fruit leather and tugged with all their might: Tug.

Other people loved the bunny games.  Andrea Bratt did a super job. There were obstacle courses, bunny bowling, banana eating contests. There was always a crowd and everyone was smiling. 

I could go on forever- the photos booth took very cute pictures.  Some are on our website to this day. The bake sale and silent auction had great buys. Kids loved the crafts face, painting and jump houses in their area.  

In 1997 many organizations contributed to Bunny Festival.  The Sunken Garden was free. The County elections division loaned us their tables and chairs. Los Prietos Boys camp helped with set up and take down. But as time passed the festival got more expensive.  Parks wanted $500 for the Garden. Elections stopped loaning tables so we paid to rent. The Health Department did not want home made goods. We had to buy food. Fewer vendors made the trip.  We made less and less money. Worse yet, we were getting older and older and Bunny Festival was just plain hard physical labor.  So in the end we decided to end Bunny Festival, but we will always have the memories.

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