By Aleksandra Bliszczyk
DOREEN resident Taylor Wyld was appalled at a pet bunny’s condition after rescuing it from Yarrambat Lake last weekend.
Lucy the rabbit has since undergone urgent surgery and medical attention after a man in a dark blue hatchback parked at the lake, put the rabbit on the ground, took a photo or video of her and drove off.
“I noticed him get out and I noticed that he’d grabbed something small and fluffy. I said to [my husband] he’s dumping something, but I wasn’t sure what it was,” Ms Wyld said.
“I [saw] this little tiny rabbit just sitting where all the wild rabbit holes were, and the poor thing was shaking, I went straight over to it, it didn’t even try and run away from me.”
She quickly noticed that Lucy’s jaw and teeth were misshapen, and realised the medical attention the rabbit needed might have been the reason for her abandonment.
“They could’ve at least tried to find a rescue or taken her to a vet, but I knew if she had’ve been taken to a vet, the chances of her being put down were very high,” she said.
After some online research she contacted the Bluey and Alice Bunny Refuge in Cockatoo, a 90-minute drive south of Doreen, where the carers determined her physical disability was most likely the result of incorrect backyard breeding.
Backyard breeding describes irresponsible breeding of pets, sometimes due to neglect when a pet becomes pregnant, but also often as a business.
In 2017 the Domestic Animals Act was amended by the State Government, making it illegal for pet shops to source and sell puppies and kittens unless they were from an approved shelter, rescue or pound, but backyard breeding is still practised nationwide and can lead to unwanted animals being mistreated or abandoned.
“When they had a look [under general anaesthetic] they were very shocked at what they had found. They didn’t realise that her mouth was so bad.” Ms Wyld said.
“Her whole jaw is misaligned, her molars don’t touch, so she is now going to be a very special needs bunny.”
Lucy will now live at the refuge where she can receive what may be ‘thousands and thousands of dollars’ of specialised care, to which is funded by the community donations.
Ms Wyld posted Lucy’s story on the Doreen Community Voice Facebook group and was overwhelmed with the hundreds of comments she received.
“I was absolutely blown away at how many people had commented and offered donations to her,” she said.
A friend of Ms Wyld’s started the GoFundMe page to originally cover her $120 adoption fee but raised more than $300 in five days, which will now be donated directly to the Bluey and Alice refuge.
Ms Wyld hopes her story will encourage people to think twice about buying pets from backyard breeders, and care more for animals.
“People that do this are heartless. They obviously have no heart and just care about the money that’s coming in their pockets,” she said.
“Seeing this makes you think, how many people think this is okay?”
Donations to Lucy’s care at the Bluey and Alice Bunny Refuge can be made via gofund.me/68ad57b4.