GOWANUS — The sick and injured bunnies that police rescued from a suspected animal abuser on Third Avenue and Ninth Street have been nursed back to health and some are now ready for adoption, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced Monday.
Fifty-two rabbits that once belonged to Dorota Trec are available for adoption at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J., the ASPCA said.
Trec was arrested in March on animal cruelty charges. Her trial is ongoing and has been continued several times.
Police and ASPCA workers seized about 230 rabbits from Trec's custody during two raids in January 2015. After veterinary examinations revealed that the animals were injured and sick — many had syphilis — Trec was charged with animal cruelty and her pets were taken to animal shelters.
In February, 77 of the bunnies arrived at St. Hubert's, where they've been spayed and neutered and "readied for adoption," officials said Monday. Some have found new homes, but 52 are still available.
The cottontails have thrived at St. Hubert's, said spokeswoman Suzanne Roman. Volunteers interact with the rabbits to make them more sociable, and they get to play with special toys such as cardboard paper towel rolls, Roman said.
"It is so heartwarming to see how beautifully all the bunnies have responded to the love and enrichment we have provided for them at St. Hubert's,” said Becky Burton, vice president of Direct Animal Care & Lifesaving Partnerships.
"They are a very special group of bunnies, and they deserve the very best in their new lives with their new families. Some of them play fetch and some just enjoy sitting on your lap."
The dozens of other rabbits taken from Trec's custody have been transferred "to several veterinary partners in the Northeast," an ASPCA spokeswoman said.
"This is still an active case with the Brooklyn District Attorney and we cannot comment further at this time,” she added.
People interested in adopting the Gowanus rabbits can visit St. Hubert's at 575 Woodland Ave. in Madison, N.J. on Sunday through Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., or call 973-377-2295 for more information.