Lucky teacup bunny with no ears and only three legs has had ‘a second chance at life’, says rabbit rescue appealing to potential pet owners to do their breeder research

A RABBIT rescue has issued a plea to pet owners after saving an earless teacup bunny with only three legs.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 2:00 pm

Portsmouth-based South Coast Rabbit Rescue is asking animal lovers to think carefully before getting a pet - and to research breeders before buying animals from them.

This appeal comes as the rescue takes care of a new arrival - ‘miracle bunny’ Duke, who weighs only 7.35 grams.

The rabbit, who is less than a year old, has faced a number of health issues due to neglect by a breeder.

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Duke uses his favourite play tube to relax in the hot weather. Picture: Mike Cooter (200721)

Vanessa Taylor, from Paulsgrove, who has run the rescue for around 10 years, said Duke is a ‘phenomenal little rabbit’.

When tiny Duke came to the rescue a few weeks ago with no ears and a deformed leg, the team knew his chance of survival was very slim.

Passed to the rescue team by a 90-year-old woman who couldn’t care for him, Duke had been neglected by his breeder, who should have taken him to the vet.

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Part of the team at South Coast Rabbit Rescue centre: Caz Taylor (45), Michelle Lawson (46) with Duke, Vanessa Taylor (45), Louise Sheehan (54) and Kim Bray (33). Picture: Mike Cooter (200721)

But the lucky bunny overcame the odds and seems to be making a good recovery

Vanessa said: ‘It’s neglect - he was left to die. His arm was at a full axis and needed to be removed. The vet told me he’s lucky to be alive.

‘Duke is a miracle bunny - he’s an amazing boy with such a big heart and such a strong will to live.

‘The vets are very surprised with how well he is doing, and that he has survived this long.’

Rescue rabbit Duke enjoys a cuddle from carer Michelle Lawson, safe now after arriving with a crushed leg and missing ears. Picture: Mike Cooter (200721)

However, the rabbit will need to have his teeth removed as they are causing a facial abscess which could be fatal.

Vanessa said: ‘Duke is now able to lie on the grass - when he first came, he sat up constantly due to a broken, abscess-filled front paw.

‘We are unsure how he lost his ears - could be the mother overgrooming him, or they could be missing from inbreeding. He’s also got stunted growth.

‘Duke still has his teeth to be removed - he has a lump to the face causing nose disfiguration which looks like it was broken at some point so his front teeth don’t meet.’

Fundraising and donations helped to pay for Duke’s £800 leg surgery, and will also pay for his teeth operation.

Vanessa said: ‘Animals being bred for money is not right, and we would like to show that rescues are left to pick up the pieces from breeders, who are thinking of the money.

‘It costs rescues so much money.

‘The more people buy, the more backstreet breeders breed.

‘Please research breeders before buying from them - go to a licensed breeder or the RSPCA or a rescue.’

Louise Sheehan, a volunteer at the rescue, said: ‘We want to make people aware that it’s a big commitment to take on an animal.

‘Because of lockdown, we’ve had so many people contacting us with rabbits that are a year old. They’re a novelty and now people don’t want to take care of them.

‘Backstreet breeders don’t think of the welfare of the animal, they’re treated as money-making machines. If you want an animal, go to a rescue first.

‘It’s amazing how many people have helped Duke - he’s had a second chance at life.’

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