GOWANUS — Fifty of the rabbits rescued from a Gowanus lot last winter — including a pair of spunky brothers named Earl and Greyson — will be available for adoption Saturday, officials with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Tuesday.
The ASPCA will host two adoption events for the rabbits from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, one in Union Square and one at the entrance to the Central Park Zoo.
"These rabbits have demonstrated an incredible level of resilience and are more than ready for the comforts of a permanent home," said Howard Lawrence, vice president of ASPCA's Anti-Cruelty Group. "We thank our rescue partners for helping to care for these rabbits over the past year, and we hope people will open their hearts to give them the loving, safe homes they deserve."
Some of the rabbits suffered from injuries and illnesses including syphilis, but they've been treated by vets are now “happy, healthy and thriving,” according to the ASPCA. All of the rabbits have been spayed or neutered, an ASPCA spokeswoman said.
St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J., and Ani-Care Animal Hospital in Dallastown, Pennsylvania have been caring for the rabbits since shortly after police rescued the animals from an empty lot behind a tire shop on Third Avenue and Ninth Street.
The rabbits belonged to Dorota Trec, who was arrested on animal cruelty charges in March after veterinary exams revealed that many of her pet rabbits were sick and injured. Trec is now awaiting trial. She continues to keep rabbits as pets and even put up a sign flaunting the presence of her animals.
The cottontails looking for forever homes Saturday include Clara, an adult female that's a "total lovebun," Alannah, a female that likes to be petted, as well as Earl and Greyson, a "spunky and cute" pair of brothers that must be adopted together, according to the ASPCA.
Rabbits tend to be more timid than dogs and cats, but they make great pets and can even be trained to use a litter box and come when called, said ASPCA Science Advisor Dr. Stephen Zawistowski.
"They're quiet and they're very clean, so they do make nice pets," Zawistowski said. "They’re a lot of fun. They have their own distinct personalities."
There's a $25 adoption fee for each rabbit. Here's what else you should know about keeping a bunny as a pet, according to Zawistowski:
► You can keep a rabbit as a pet even if you live in an apartment with no outdoor access. They can be kept some of the time in a cage that's about four times their size, but they'll need to hop around to stretch their legs at least twice a day.
► Rabbits have interesting behaviors that are fun to watch. Like Thumper in the movie "Bambi," rabbits thump their legs to communicate when they're excited or if they sense danger. They also do "chinning" — rubbing their chins on things to mark their territory. They also need clean toys to chew on to keep their teeth from growing.
► You'll need to rabbit-proof your house as you would for a baby. Bunnies like to chew on electrical wires.
► Despite Bugs Bunny's carrot habit, rabbits should eat mostly grass hay and just a small amount (about a quarter cup) of pellets every day, as well dark green veggies and a couple of tablespoons of fruit. The ASPCA estimates that it costs about $190 a year to feed a rabbit, and that the total cost of care and feeding is about $730 a year.
The two adoption events for the Gowanus rabbits are from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12. One is at the entrance to the Central Park Zoo near Grand Army Plaza and East Drive. The other is in front of the Staples between 14th and 15th streets at Union Square. There is a $25 adoption fee, which includes a cage and water bottle. Adopters should bring a photo ID and proof of residence.