Moreland rabbit rescue update
By Heather Bechtel, The Rabbit Haven
Over 90 rabbits have been safely removed from the Easterbrook Discovery School in the Moreland area, thanks to the leadership and persistence of Lily Lee, M.D., San Jose Rabbit Advocate for the San Jose Animal Shelter and the cooperation of a newly formed Rabbit Rescue Alliance made up of major rabbit rescue groups, organized by The Rabbit Haven of Santa Cruz.
Moreland Rabbit Care and Re-homing Project (MRCAR) and SaveABunny volunteers worked together early on to rescue the first few weeks. The Rabbit Haven has been very active in the planning stages of this rescue, and moved efforts to the Moreland grounds on August 1, when we were finally given permission to go in. With teams of 15 volunteers in each rescue unit we searched and carefully collected rabbits from all sectors of this area. As of August 20, The Rabbit Haven rescue teams are smaller, yet we are still searching for and rescuing Moreland rabbits.
The Moreland grounds are almost clear of rabbits, however many rabbits have moved off into neighboring yards and several more are very difficult to rescue as they are so frightened. Hawks are prevalent and the there is also the risk of the humans who attack them, lack of food and fresh water. This situation is dismal for the remaining rabbits and we expect to have many rescue volunteers on the ground for a month to come before we are complete.
We have already begun our community education phase, beginning with media and focusing in particular on the local neighborhood surrounding the school. Lily has meet with a variety of community groups, The Rabbit Haven has sent out flyers to the community, and SaveABunny attended a homeowners' meeting to get community support. The Rabbit Haven sent out an email through the homeowners' association advising people of the situation and asking for their support. We will continue to work with this community and have offered to pick up any rabbit a community member collects from this area.
Thanks to the critical work and negotiations of Lily Lee, we were finally allowed in after months of wrangling over insurance and waivers. Amazing work, Lily! SaveABunny (SAB) also stirred up the media and held several important interviews with local papers. The group has also created a darling video of the babies and one about the rescue as well. SAB has rescued the majority of Moreland rabbits. Kim of The Friends of Unwanted Rabbits (FUR) drove all the way from Sacramento to pick up 7 precious rabbits that she rescued. Lily and her foster sites in San Jose have about 25 or more in their network, and the Haven has 25. North Star took in five to foster and has pledged more supplies and support. All of us are naturally stretched beyond measure.
The Rabbit Haven continues to coordinate medical care, spay and neuter services through CatWorks, (thank you Ann Nussbaum), a special program that we set up in conjunction with Ann & Palo Alto spay neuter clinic. This program allows low cost spay and neuter help for these rabbits. We anticipate 90+ rabbits will receive these services. What a blessing.
MRCAR continues to care for the rabbits on the ground and fosters. Lily is maintaining important contacts with the school district, local neighborhood association leaders and the Police. In addition, thanks to Natasha for managing Lily's Moreland MRCAR triage site at her own home where the newly rescued rabbits go before they go off to their new foster locations. She's been working late into the night every night! Rabbit haven rescue teams have been on the grounds all week long every night- MRCAR will take over again on August 21. We will not stop until all rabbits are out!
Several special needs rabbits have also come out of this site. Dr. Carolynn Harvey, with Chabot Veterinary Hospital in Hayward, will be taking these special needs rabbits under her care, and Dr. Hawklyn of Aptos -Creekside Veterinary Clinic in Aptos is caring for our most recent hawk-injured baby. Haweye did very well in his surgery and it looks like his eye will be ok. We have to watch him very carefully, as he has suffered terrible injuries. He was literally taken from a hawk's claws. Happily, the injured bunny's sister was rescued the very next night and was delivered to me and they were so happy to see each other. What a sweet reunion. She was able to be with him this morning when he had surgery. These rabbit have suffered so much. Caring for them is a pleasure.
The bad news:
Most of the rabbits are significantly underweight, flea and tick infested, and are nutritionally depleted. Several females had partially reabsorbed fetuses and one had mummified kits, and two of our females prolapsed, requiring urgent care and then a second surgery. Dr Bonnie Yoffe provided these surgeries at no cost at the Palo Alto spay neuter clinic. Other vets have offered services at reduced fees.
One female had a litter after rescue. We did all we could, yet we were unable to save two of her kits. We are truly racing against the birth clock for all females we have to assure that they are spayed ASAP! Almost every female we took in was in one stage or another of pregnancy.
Sadly, many of the Moreland rabbits could not be rescued in time: Over 100 lost their lives while we were forced to wait for permission to get in. It has been reported that 26 bodies have been found on the grounds at Moreland since mid July. A neighbor (a retired Sheriff) reported 93 rabbit bodies in his yard over a three month period.
Focusing on the brighter side, more donations keep coming:
Annie's Blankets (thanks to sweet Claire) came through with a truck load of sheets and fleece blankets. Pam of Oxbow Health delivered 3600 pounds of food and hay. Bunny Bytes contributed hundreds of pounds of food, treats and products. Pet food Express and For Other Living things also donated large qualities of food and supply. FUR (Friends of Unwanted Rabbits) has a special fundraiser ongoing to raise money for the rabbits of Moreland. House Rabbit Society sent in an emergency grant. Many individual Haven donors sent immediate supplies for the babies and special receiving blankets for their care. Karen Courtemanche of Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary saved the day with the loan of several Marchioro cages and pens and supplies need to rescue, and Bunny Bytes also donated water bottles, food bowls, grooming supplies, food, fleece blankets, and more.
Special thank you to Rabbit Haven volunteers Kyomi Okamoto and Karen Thomas for creating the sweet gift packs that will be given to each Moreland adopted rabbit. Kyomi made soft fleece holding blankets, each embossed with a smiling bunny. Karen & Darrel created fun, wooden toys and Karen put the gift bags together. Next, Phyllis McLaughlin is coming up from southern California to bring a pallet of Oxbow right into Santa Cruz! This food will be distributed to all Moreland foster sites.
Reward: We are still in pursuit of the criminals who shot Wish, the black bunny who was shot during one of the early rescue attempts. There is a $ 2,000.00 reward offered now for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s) who have been coursing their dogs to kill the rabbits and the people who willfully went in to kill these rabbits. Go to www.PAWS4SJACS.com for details on the reward fund.
Thank you for the wonderful support and special thank you to Sunil Potis, the kind citizen who heard we needed to obtain insurance to get in to rescue. He was shocked that this could be the barrier and he paid for it! Thousands of dollars have been spent to save these rabbits and they are worth every cent. He is very pleased now. So are we.
Thank you to House Rabbit Society for sending 50 education packets that will be offered to those who adopt and to those who have rabbit in the Moreland area. These packets are also available through the homeowners association upon request.
Our regular Haven adoption shows will be featuring the rabbits of Moreland. These rabbits now know about the good life! They are ready to meet potential adopters and to see what its like to be pampered.
Northstar Rescue also has a show planned, and SaveABunny and Lily have regular adoptions in their facilities. Lily will also show rabbit through the Rabbit Haven adoption shows.
What is needed now? Help!
We truly need help with fostering, donations and eventually adoptions. We also need food to support these rabbits. Powered KMR and litter boxes are also needed if anyone wants to send. Funds for ongoing medical needs for rabbits that have injuries and severe malnutrition.
Call Auntie Heather at 831 600-7479 email firstname.lastname@example.org. Depending on where you are, you will be referred to your closest foster area.
Or you my contact the people who are managing directly: For foster of adoption or to make a donation please contact any of the following:
Heather Bechtel with Rabbit Haven Director@therabbithaven.org www.therabbithaven.org
Lily Lee with PAWS email@example.com www.paws4sjacs.com
Marcy Schaaf at SaveABunny SaveAbunny@aol.com www.saveabunny.org
Kim at Friend of Unwanted Rabbits firstname.lastname@example.org www.teamfur.org
Lauren Paul at Northstar Rescue email@example.com www.northstarrescue.org
Rescue efforts will continue for months to come. We will keep you up to date.
Update: July 27, 2009
Here is the latest information about the rescue from Auntie Heather:
Thank you to our members and donors who have truly been magnificent! You are awesome! You have helped us create a foundation so the rescue can get underway. Money for spay neuter and medicine plus supplies was critical – Now we can move ahead. The recue project is gaining members and becoming even more organized under the leadership of Lily Lee, San Jose Rabbit Advocate.
Although the rescue project has not yet gained full access to the property, the rescue volunteers have been able to save several rabbits from this site. So far we have 18 out. Rescue group member have some, The Rabbit Haven has taken in some and more coming out each day. SaveABunny has taken in a group of rescued rabbits as well. SaveABunny also has committed two rescue people from their group.
The Project leader, local neighborhood groups, the local police, and local homeowner’s association leaders and the Rabbit Rescue Alliance (a new group) are working together now to help accomplish a common goal: To safely remove and provide care for these abandoned and abused rabbits.
Thanks to the generous support of The Rabbit Haven donors who sent in $1,500 so far to help us provide medical care, medicines, spay neuter care and other items needed for the rescue.
Pet Food Express has donated thousand of dollars in supplies to help us set up - Hay, precision pens, carriers and litter, litter boxes and other items. For Other Living Things in Sunnyvale has also donated and has offered their site as a donation drop spot which has also generated many supplies that will go directly to these rabbits in need. They have also offered their site for adoption services. Bunny Bytes has also offered donations. Thanks also to the PAWS (Pet Awareness Welfare Society) for their ongoing support in this project. We are also in contact with Busy Bunny and Oxbow to request needed grant support by way of supply.
Marcy Schaaf, a dedicated Rabbit rescue Director of SaveABunny reports “Donations are urgently needed to cover the costs of spay/neuter, insurance coverage for the rescue effort and emergency medical care for the rabbits. Foster homes and qualified adopters are urgently needed and encouraged to contact The Rabbit Haven and SaveABunny for more information on how to help.” Yesterday Marcy created a special Yahoo group so that rescue leaders from each rescue group could quickly communicate. More on this later. She also created and sent out a vital press release regarding the problem and solutions. Watch your papers. The local rescue network project also put out press with Lily – that will also come out soon. Hopefully people will offer their support and help with fostering.
I commend the dedication and tenacity of the Rabbit Rescue Project Leader, Lily Lee. Lily has worked on this project over one year. With her guidance and support so much has been accomplished. The Rabbit Haven and the community are very concerned about the welfare of thee rabbits as they are targets of local hoodlums who have clubbed, tortured, and killed several of these rabbits. At one recent rescue effort people came with firearms. This site is near a school! Sadly over 100 rabbits remain on the site. It seems impossible, but this can be done. We are each doing all that we can to gain access, so we can remove the rabbits before they are harmed further. Donations of gift certificates or products may also be left with Anita and family at for Other Living things in Sunnyvale - Petsmart locally and nationally will also help support this work through offering space at their stores for large adoption events.
Individuals from the community also have stepped in to provide needed insurance coverage that the property owner requires the rescue project to have BEFORE we will be allowed on the property! They want the rabbits out and yet expected we would pay for a million dollars of insurance plus agree to many unreasonable demands as well, all to allow us to rescue these vulnerable rabbits.
The local shelter has offered to come out to educate the public. This is sorely needed. This area has been a dumping place for unwanted domestic rabbits for years. Well that has to stop now! Currently the area is under surveillance and those dumping or harming the animals will be reported to the police - this is a crime. Those bringing weapons to the area may face felony changes. Note: All Rabbit Rescue team members will be clearly identified they will wear signs with their first name and Rabbit Rescue Project noted. They will carry their ID. The Police have offered added support as we go in to remove these rabbits as we want to be sure that all volunteers can carry out their work without fear of being attacked. Apparently some individuals in the community like to let their dogs loose on this properly to have “fun” chasing the rabbits. They seem bothered they can no longer do this. One volunteer was verbally attacked by one person with his dog. She was threatened. This is a rescue like no other we have been involved in.
Together we are saving rabbits lives. We will also be removing the criminal element from this area which is filled with decent families and young children. Our entire rabbit rescue will be done on rabbit time – after the children are not awake in most cases. The public around this vicinity will be receiving flyers explaining our rescue and what they may expect. They will also be given instructions to call the police if they see criminals or anyone with a firearm in this vicinity. There is a neighborhood watch group which has been alerted as well as a homeowners association group. The groups are aware and support the safe humane removal and rehoming of these abandoned domestic rabbits. Some are just babies – only weeks old.
We need your support and possibly you may want to help by assisting in scheduled rescues or by fostering. Call if you can help. Several groups of infant bunnies have no mothers. Some of the mothers sadly were the killed. So these babies need to be fed. Thank you to the current feeding team at the site. Wow! I await that schedule it part of the plan of bringing several groups together so they can be moved to safety.
Recently a new coalition of Rabbit rescue groups has been formed – Members of the rescue world may contact Auntie Heather of the Rabbit Haven Director@therabbithaven.org to become a part of this network to save theses rabbits and possibly others in the future. With major groups such as Saveabunny, the Rabbit Haven, HRS, Harvest Home, Rabbit Ears, Northstar and associates, Team Fur, The AFRP Rabbit Rescue project, and the Project Leader of this rescue, we have a tremendous start. New members will be added soon.
Note: Thank you again Rabbit Haven members. You are fantastic! Haven donors have contributed over $1,500 to date. The Saveabunny organization firstname.lastname@example.org has also been working to raise funds. So far $500.00 !!!! But they just started... Know that all the funds you have donated will be used to assist the rabbits from this rescue. I am certain that the new Rabbit Rescue groups will be notifying their members regarding need for foster support, transport and spay neuter help.
Happily the Rabbit Haven’s area spay neuter clinic is working with the Rabbit Haven to secure low cost spay and neuter for these rescued rabbits! Most spays/neuters can be covered however we may run out of funds, so we will still need more spays and neuters. North Star agreed to provide some of these –that is Great! Local Rabbit vets are encouraged to call if they can donate even one spay or neuter for this special group of abandoned rabbits.
We are considering holding a two day adoption event located in San Jose/Sunnyvale after the rescued rabbits has been secured, vetted, spayed/neutered and have secured foster homes. We will alert the public and post pictures of available rabbits as soon as possible. Sadly there are some beaurocratic barriers that are currently preventing us from going into the site fully but these details are slowly and surely being addressed. Be on the look out for beautiful after photos of these lovely rabbits, each just waiting for a perfect home of their own. We will need show set up staff and show support people as well.
If you wish to make a cash donation for this rescue,
you can donate via Paypal, or donate by check.
Please be sure to note 'Mooreland Rescue' on your donation, and 100% of it will go to help these rabbits.
July 17, 2009
Officials would not help! The local shelter would not help! Rabbits are dying daily at this rescue site. So the lead coordinator for the San Jose area will begin tonight, saving as many rabbits as possible. We have to prevent more rabbit deaths at this site! You can help.
Every evening rabbits are killed or are found dead. Many die trying to find food or escape dogs that are allowed on the property to chase and kill these rabbits. The situation has become a crisis for these 100+ rabbits. This has to stop! We can do this. We can use your help! You may email or call The Haven to find out more and help by providing any of the supplies needed! Please act today. Any item you can donate will help - Do something please. Even a loan is fine (pens and Marchiaros). Together we can prevent further rabbit deaths at this site, and get all of the rabbits stuck there to safety.
This is an all volunteer project. No one is paid. Our primary objective is to save as many rabbit lives as possible and to bring them to health and safety, spay/neuter and then find them homes. All rabbits will be treated, spayed and neutered and cared for.
With the assistance of a handful of dedicated community members we will rescue the rabbits. Sunday 7-19-2009, the rescue will begin. Today is our first stage “soft rescue”. Selecting animals from outside the perimeter. These are the ones most at risk.
In later days the project will be scaled up, we will be going in to the property. Today we are taking the babies out to save their lives. We will be looking for their mothers and taking those out too if we can find them. There are an assortment of rabbits in the area: Dutches, Netherland dwarfs, fuzzy whites, rexes.
This place has become a common dumping group for unwanted rabbits. These rabbits are cruelly thrown into the park and left to find water and food for themselves.
This evening is the day that our rescue begins. The rescue will most likely be ongoing for two weeks. There are so many rabbits of all types and sizes needing rescue and so many babies from just born to two weeks that are clearly visible.
If you can lend a hand to rescue call me and I will put you in touch with the coordinator of this rescue. 831 600-7479 or email email@example.com. We need you! We need supplies too.
Items may be taken to For Other Living Things at 1261 South Mary street Sunnyvale CA or call us and we will arrange pick up of supplies. 831 600-7479
If you require a truck we can pick up - Karen of Harvest Home has offered to loan some cages and supplies to us. Thank you Karen.
Here is a list of items urgently needed for these bunnies. If you wish to make a cash donation for this rescue,
you can donate via Paypal, or donate by check.
Please be sure to note 'Mooreland Rescue' on your donation, and 100% of it will go to help these rabbits.
- Water bottles tiny ones and large ones.
- Food water Crocks 3” 5”
- Bags of food alfalfa pellets – clear pellets only please.
- Hay bales alfalfa and grass hay
- Hay racks
- Places to put precision pens with bunnies in garages extra rooms until we can get them spayed neutered- have space anywhere in your home?
- Transport assistance to spay neuter. Can you over night a bunny and take a group to spay or neuter.
- Veterinary support We need as many free or low cost spay neuters are we can get the least expensive we can find Is 50 for neuter and 60 for spay – I can get several done her in Santa Cruz but logistically that may pose a problem. Palo Alto spay and neuter already agreed to do 4 free. Ask you vet if they can do one or two. Everyone who contributes will receive a tax donation letter.
- My first home or marchiaro cages small and large.
- Precision pens 30” 36”
- Chicken wire rolls
- Cotton balls bag of the them
- white vinegar, bleach, gloves
- KMR kitten milk replacement formula powered most likely best
- Bags of lactated ringers solution
- Pedialite, unflavored large bottles, we have lots of babies. (available at Drug stores)
- Infant simethicone (avail at drug stores)
- Sheepskin fabric (artificial of course)
- Snuggle safes
- Heating pads electric
- Baby blankets
- Flat sheets all sizes, pillow cases all sizes
- Fleece blankets or fleece fabric we can cut up
- Gift certificates for food, greens, all needs – anywhere in San José or Los Gatos area.
- Marketing support, photo people, media people call me! 831 600-7479
- Gas cards to help our transport people.
- Litter and litter boxes all sizes types accepted
- Items for rabbits to play with once they are healed.
Thank you for your help for all those who respond. We will be posting pictures of the rabbits as we get them. All donors will be informed of the progress on these rabbits.
Love to you and thank you for your kindness and compassion. Love, auntie heather