We Got Buns, Hun!

That’s the new callout from the MSPCA, which is offering fee-waived adoptions for rabbits next week.

Didn’t know you can get bunnies at shelters? You’re not alone, said Rob Halpin, director of public relations for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which runs three shelters in the state (in Jamaica Plain, Methuen and Centerville).

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“People, I think, tend to believe you have to go to a pet store to buy a rabbit, when in fact you can go to your local adoption center and adopt one,” Halpin told Metro.

Bunny adoptions usually cost $75, Halpin said, but the MSPCA is waiving fees Sept. 12-20. Those interested just have to show a reference from a veterinarian and prove that they either own their home or have a landlord’s permission to have a pet.

There are 50 rabbits in the MSPCA’s care right now, Halpin said, which is close to capacity for the shelters. He said the new cheeky “Buns” campaign is aimed at spreading awareness about the often-overlooked critters in need.

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“We want to make the rabbit story in terms of adoption as optimistic and as successful as the story has been for homeless cats and dogs in recent years in Massachusetts,” Halpin told Metro.

The rabbits in the MSPCA’s care are not the wild bunnies you might see hopping around your neighborhood. Instead, these are domesticated rabbits that would not fare well on their own outside, Halpin said.

He said there has been an increase in the number of rabbits brought to shelters in the state. But because so few people look to shelters when buying a rabbit – most go to pet stores, he said – the small animals spend a much longer time in shelter cages than do dogs and cats.

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For those considering bunny ownership, Halpin had some words of encouragement. Because they are easy to care for and their diet easy to accommodate – mostly hay and leafy greens - bunnies make great first pets, Halpin said.

“From our perspective, they’re a good animal for demonstrating kindness and compassion toward animals that we would like to instill in the next generation,” he said.

Other animals you didn’t know can be found in shelters, according to Halpin: guinea pigs, ferrets, rats, birds and, occasionally but less often, reptiles.

MSPCA locations:

*350 South Huntington Ave., Jamaica Plain – 617-522-5055

*1577 Falmouth Road, Centerville – 508-775-0940

*400 Broadway, Methuen – 978-687-7453