Pet rescue expert Becky Yates has a special seasonal message for this Easter weekend - if you are getting a rabbit make sure it’s a chocolate one.
Becky speaks with the voice of experience after running her own pet rescue service for six years.
She set up Cottam Rescue and Boarding on Hoyles Lane at Cottam, near Preston, after witnessing first hand the suffering inflicted on unloved and unwanted rabbits.
The 23 year old, who studied animal management at Myerscough College before an apprenticeship working on a rare breed farm, explained she had intended to breed rabbits, but ended up rescuing them.
Resrearching on the internet she saw many rabbits were being offered free to good homes, but was horrified on making a site visit to find three adult and three baby rabbits crammed in an excrement filled cage with no food or water. The cage also contained dead baby rabbits.
She said: “I saw a white one with blue eyes and really cute grey ones. I was crying my eyes out when I saw them ... I ended up taking all of the rabbits. After that I thought I’m not going to breed them. I’m going to rescue them.”
The former Broughton High School student was just 16 when she started the rescue work and over the years reckons to have helped rescue and rehome hundreds of rabbits: “Since 2010 I’ve had 867 rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens and orphaned wildlife.”
She notes there were two main reasons why rabbits needed rescue - they were wrongly sexed when bought and owners ended up with unexpected litters or children had got bored of them.
She said: “They’re great pets - once you understand they don’t like being cuddled. They are not really for a child. Rabbits want to just run around.”
Becky no longer runs her rescue and boarding service due to a shortage of land and the high costs involved in the animals’ care.
She now works at Latham’s in Fulwood. But she still has two much loved pet rabbits, Ebony and Angel, and has not ruled out resuming rescue work in the future. She still provides temporary boarding facilities for any of the rabbits she has rehomed.
She said: “People grow up with cuddly bunnies at Easter. If they are getting anything for Easter make sure it’s a chocolate rabbit and not a real one, because they are a big responsibility - cost wise as well.”