RABBITS who were left to fight for their lives after being abandoned are being nurtured back to health in Portsmouth.
South Coast Rabbit Rescue, run by Vanessa Taylor from her back garden in Ludlow Road, Paulsgrove, was practically overrun after a staggering 45 rabbits were rescued in one operation.
The rabbits, many of whom have been left with cuts and bruises, were found in a lorry abandoned near Haslemere on Sunday, September 8.
But with the female rabbits due to soon give birth, this number could double by the end of the month.
Vanessa, who also works at Jollyes pet store, said: ‘A lot of them were being kept in the same boxes, so the males had fought one another and were covered with various injuries.
‘When we had them checked I realised that nine of the females were pregnant. At the moment we have 45 rabbits but this could easily turn into 90.
‘They weren’t even in their own cages – whoever abandoned them had just left them in plastic boxes.’
Last year, South Coast Rabbit Rescue saved 28 rabbits from a property in Portsmouth, and were almost at full capacity.
With almost twice that number already and more on the way, the charity is having to turn other rabbits away, to Vanessa’s concern.
‘We literally cannot take in any more,’ she said.
‘We’re having to turn away families who need our help, all because of somebody else’s cold heart.
‘It’s not fair on other rabbits and families that need our support.’
The youngest rabbit in the group is just six months old, with the oldest being age seven.
Thanking both Jolleys and members of the public for the support she has received already, Vanessa is desperately appealing for families who are interested in getting a new rabbit to get in touch.
She said: ‘There are things people will need in order to home a rabbit, like a hutch, straw and so on, but we can help with that.
‘They’re such friendly and docile animals – it breaks my heart to think of them without a proper place to call home.’
To help, people can call Vanessa on 07766 915889.