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Abuse Report at Tampines
Log by Adeline Choo

24 September 2004, Friday
Yong, a public, wrote to HRSS about a week ago regarding what seemed like abandoned rabbits in front of Blk 439, Tampines street 43.

I decided to check it out and met up with Yong at about 9pm.

In front of this block was an open area with a temporary construction office and staff quarters made out of 2 white cargo containers. Yong pointed at the open area and true enough, I saw 2 female rabbits – one white (Snowie) and the other a dark brown (Brownie).

As we approach the rabbits, I took out the fresh vegetables I brought to lure them towards us so that we could have a better view of them. Snowie limped towards me without any hesitation.
She took the vegetables instantly and circled around us for more soon after.

One look at her and I saw that she had scabies all over her body.
Her condition was so serious that all the fur on its nose bridge had been stripped off due to the sheer weight of the fungi that had been growing there. I cringed as I imagined the pain and suffering she must have gone through.

I picked Snowie up. I do not like the feel of the crusty growths on her body at all. When I turned her over, I was shocked to see her feet all red and swollen. There wasn’t any fur around her feet, tail and rear area at all. It was no wonder she was limping. In addition, she was drenched due to the rain earlier. It was a terrible sight. Yong was equally aghast.

Next, I went on to approach Brownie. Brownie was more cautious but as it was munching on the fresh vegetables, I managed to catch hold of her. Brownie was in slightly better condition as compared with Snowie, but the rims of her ears were covered with scabies too.

Both rabbits were around 4 to 6 months old. They looked settled in their environment. By the side of the container, there were pellets and carrots left for them on old newspaper.

I spoke with a few passer-bys and many said that these rabbits belonged to a household about 10 metres away. They even pointed at the unit mentioned. According to them, the rabbits were fed daily by their owners who had taken them out of the cage and left them in the field some three months ago. This information seemed right as Yong & I could see 2 empty old and rusty cages in front of a unit at Blk 439.

According to Yong, there should have been four rabbits, but only three were seen most of the time.

We searched perimeters of the containers but we could not find any rabbits. We feared that they may be trapped or hiding under the containers.

The gap between the container and the ground was only 10 to 15 centimetres wide. I decided to put my camera into the gap and take wide shots inside these gaps. After a few snaps, we managed to catch a shot of a black bunny (Blackie). He was however, very deep in. I took a few more shots, hoping to see a fourth rabbit, but in avail.

It was impossible to catch Blackie on our own, thus we decided to get SPCA to help.

25 September 2004, Saturday
10 Am. I called the SPCA, described the whole situation and expressed that we needed their help in catching the three rabbits, especially Blackie. Mei Hong, the Officer-in-charge, was extremely supportive and was all ready to dispatch her team for the rescue effort.

Our volunteers, Rebecca & her husband, responded instantly to help out, representing HRSS in the rescue. Yong was also informed about the operation and all agreed to meet on site at 1130am. With logistics confirmed, another of our volunteer, Jackie, concurrently made arrangements with Dr. Cathy Chan to treat the rabbits once we rescued them.

Around 1230pm, Rebecca called. All three rabbits were successfully rescued and safely transported to the Animal Companion Surgery Clinic in Balestier where Dr Cathy Chan & Assistant, Wai Peng, were prepared for their arrival.

Upon examination, it was confirmed that they had scabies.
Snownie’s condition was exceptionally severe and according to Dr Chan, would take several months to recover. Nonetheless, all three rabbits were generally in reasonable condition to be sterilized.

Sterilization was carried out on 29 September 2004, Wednesday.

2 October 2004, Saturday
Jackie & I went to visit the three rabbits at the clinic.
They were given medical treatment. Under the professional care, all looked so much better. They had good appetite too. Snowie’s fur had starting growing on her feet and the swelling had subsided. These rabbits are to be boarded at the clinic until the scabies have cleared and until HRSS finds them foster homes.

HRSS lodged a report with the SPCA against the household. However, all of Mei Hong’s (SPCA) questions were denied by the family. With insufficient evidence to the case, we could not approach the police or AVA for help. Nonetheless, HRSS hopes that SPCA’s intervention serves as sufficient deterrent to the household and that they will not attempt such cruel acts again.

Abandonment and neglect are forms of abuse. Punishment includes 1 year imprisonment, fines up to $10,000 or both.

Pet ownership is a long term commitment. Sad but true, Illegal Breeding for sale is very common. Very often, many irresponsible owners or illegal breeders find that they have too many rabbits to cope with and these rabbits soon find themselves conveniently abandoned- in parks, reservoirs, open fields, car parks and even rubbish chutes.

If Yong had not reported this case to HRSS, Snowie, Brownie & Blackie would be dying slowly and painfully on their own. Thanks to the SPCA for their facilities rendered to the rescue and supportive vets like Dr Chan & team who were willing to treat them. HRSS is unable to cope with all abandonment cases but will continue to try our best to rescue as many rabbits as possible.

This is just one of the many abandonment cases in Singapore as many more go unreported.

We urgently need volunteers and the public’s support to track down these cases and help with rescue and foster efforts and also to provide financial assistance for their medical treatments and sterilization fees.

If you would like to donate toward the medical or care costs of these bunnies, please send a cheque to House Rabbit Society (Singapore), Toa Payoh Central Post Office, PO Box 108, Singapore 913104 and indicate at the back of the cheque “Tampines Rabbits”.

If you can help us foster rescued rabbits, please write in to us at help@hrss.net. Without foster homes, we have to turn down many rescue calls.

Please support our rescue efforts. The Tampines Rabbits and many other abandoned rabbits need all the help they can get.


Updates:
6th Nov 2004, Saturday - Brownie, Blackie and Snowie were brought to ‘The Lodge’ at Chestnut Drive Secondary School – joining resident rabbits Sandy, Toby and Pebbles.

‘The Lodge’ is an initiative by Chestnut Drive Secondary School’s Green Club with the aim of educating the students on pet responsibility and proper rabbit care.

Brownie, Blackie and Snowie will be fostered there until they find permanent loving homes.

To adopt these lovely rabbits, please email us.

 



Snowie and Brownie spotted


Scabies on Brownie's ears

Blackie being spotted under the container


Their old rusty cages


Food given by their "owner"


Snowie's pain and suffering

Snowie and Brownie

Snowie eating the vegetables we brought

2nd Oct '04 - Brownie and Blackie at the vet.


2nd Oct '04 - Scabies on Blackie's ears


2nd Oct '04 - Brownie,
Blackie and Snowie looking much better at the vet

 

 


Chestnut Drive Secondary School students and their teacher Roy welcoming their new foster rabbits to
‘The Lodge’




Snowie and Brownie in their new foster home




Pebbles getting to know his new roommate Blackie





Resident bunnies – Sandy and Toby

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