Massive Tacoma rabbit rescue

246 rabbits found in Puyallup property after animal cruelty investigation leads to seizure.

Photo by Humane Society of Tacoma & Pierce County Facebook page

On Feb. 16 this past month, the rescuers of The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County were called on-site to a property in Puyallup. There, they were met with a most heartbreaking scene. Officers guided rescuers to what was found to be a storage unit for hundreds of rabbits. Crates were stacked upon crates in every corner of an outside shed, with minimal sunlight and oxygen flow. They found a similar arrangement inside the owner’s house. Rescuers were shocked to find that the total number of rabbits added up to a whopping 246, ranging from newborns and juveniles to adults. 

Despite previous calls made by neighbors regarding animal abuse, Pierce County Animal Control decided to give the owner time to decide whether or not to surrender them. According to Pierce County Animal Control, the owner was combative and refused to cooperate. After a few months, officers decided to raid her property alongside the Humane Society to evaluate the extent of the abuse. Nothing could have prepared them to find that she had hundreds of animals hidden inside her home. 

The rescue mission began around 9:00 a.m. and ended at around 1:00 a.m. the next day. Veterinarians and volunteers were called onto the scene, deeming this ordeal a true emergency. Once briefed, they began to work. Each rabbit was taken from their crate, microchipped, transferred to a clean, temporary containment unit, vaccinated, given food and examined for any illnesses. All rabbits suffered respiratory infections, most likely because of the poor ventilation and unsanitary conditions they were forced to reside in. The volunteers found over half of them to suffer from head tilts and poor muscle control due to the cramped cages. Unfortunately, four kits were found deceased inside their cages. 

Rabbits are extremely sociable yet delicate creatures. They love to free-roam, explore and catch a bit of fresh air at least once a day. Despite misconceptions, rabbits are not rodents. They are extremely intelligent and are often easier to train than dogs or cats, and can be trained to use a litter box (with hay or pellets). They also groom themselves, similar to cats, which makes them highly sanitary pets. They experience joy, happiness, love, and yes, they also get the zoomies.

Photo by Humane Society of Tacoma & Pierce County Facebook page

This is all to say that rabbits are often overlooked to be dirty and simple. Most people think that keeping them in a cage 24/7 is how it’s supposed to be. Just like any other free-roaming pet, they will get depressed and become ill if they are forced to be in a locked space for too long. That and their life expectancy will be greatly decreased. The fact that 246 of these wonderful creatures were subjected to this torment is extremely upsetting. These animals will need all the support, care, and love possible to become healthy again.

The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County is asking for your help. 246 fluffy rabbits are looking for new homes and foster parents. Help give one of these animals a warm, loving home. They just might become your new best friend. Not able to adopt at this moment? That’s alright! Leave a donation through the Humane Society website instead and help these amazing rescuers be able to cover the costs to keep these rabbits happy and healthy. You can also donate supplies by buying directly from their Amazon wish list. Even the smallest donation can make the biggest difference. Both links are available below.