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Adoption adoption process

Adoption Policies and Requirements  //   How to Adopt  //   Rabbits Ready for Adoption  //   Find Your Rabbit A Friend  //   Adoption Fees  //   The Smart Way to Choose a Rabbit  //   Rehoming your Rabbit  

Adoption Policies and Requirements

Potential adopters must be screened in advance of adopting in order to best match them with rabbits who are appropriate for their home and family. Due to challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the emergence of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2), adoptions are by appointment only and virtual.

San Diego House Rabbit Society (SDHRS) does not adopt to children. An adult or parent (21 or older) must contact us to complete the screening process, and an adult must be the primary caretaker of the rabbit. If a teenager is making the initial contact that is fine, but we will still require the parents to contact us, fill out the adoption application and participate in the screening process. We require our adopted rabbits to be housed inside as indoor family companions and with the emergence of RHDV2 the rabbits should have no outdoor play time, even when vaccinated.

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How to Adopt

  1. 1. View our adoptable rabbits
  2. 2. Complete our online Adopter Application
  3. 3. Take the House Rabbit Fundamentals Seminar
  4. 4. Following the class, you will be asked to take a quiz with questions related to the material that was covered in the House Rabbit Fundamentals Seminar.
  5. 5.A SDHRS Counselor will reach out to you to schedule a zoom meeting/interview. Please do not purchase anything prior to your meeting with your counselor.
  6. 6. Get your home ready for a rabbit
  7. 7. You will finalize your adoption by completing our Adoption Agreement via text or email, and paying the adoption donation.
  8. 8. Schedule an appointment time with you to take your rabbit home!

**Please note, you will do a store side pick up of your rabbit from our front window. Please bring a carrier, or you can purchase one from our SDHRS BunnyStore.

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Finding a Friend For Your Rabbit

RHDV2 has changed the landscape of how SDHRS can help find a companion for your bunny. When seeking a companion for your current rabbit, your rabbit must already be spayed or neutered and vaccinated for at least 18 days. Being spayed or neutered for at least 3-4 months is necessary to be able to bond the rabbits without severe fighting due to hormonal issues. If you need recommendations for a rabbit vet, or a lower cost spay/neuter option, please let us know. We are happy to give you information on lower cost options in San Diego County. For further information, please contact us at adopt@sandiegorabbits.org.

Please understand that we are fostering homeless and previously unwanted rabbits. The majority of our rabbits come from shelters when there was no more room, or the rabbit had a behavioral or health problem and was going to be euthanized if not taken in by a rescue. We are truly their last hope. The adoption process may seem a bit time-consuming but we are making every effort to ensure our rabbits are adopted into the "right" home for them and that you, and the rabbit, are happy with this adoption. All we ask is that you take your time to make an informed adoption decision, and that once you adopt you love and care for your new rabbit companion in a manner that will support their life expectancy of 8 to 12 years. Thank you for understanding our level of commitment to our foster rabbits.

If you are thinking about getting a rabbit for your younger children or believe that getting a rabbit will help teach children responsibility, this often is NOT a good choice as proper rabbit care is too complicated for most children to manage. Contrary to many people's understanding, rabbits are NOT easy, inexpensive pets. Guinea pigs and rats, however, make much better pets for younger children and are much easier for them to manage - with your help. For information on adoptable guinea pigs and rats, please visit Wee Companions Small Animal Rescue at https://weecompanions.org/.

Are you visiting our website in order to adopt a rabbit, but you are NOT located in Southern California? If so, please visit the National HRS website at www.rabbit.org to find an HRS Chapter or independent rabbit rescue near you.

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Adoption Fees

Our adoption process requires all potential adopters to complete an adoption application, take a House Rabbit Fundamentals class that will include a quiz, meet with an Adoption Counselor and pay an adoption fee . Applications must have been received in order to get an adoption appointment with an adoption counselor.

Adoption Fees:
Single Rabbit - $85
Bonded Pair - $135

Includes:

  • Spayed or neutered, litter box trained rabbit(s) (spay/neuter value up to $350)
  • Microchip - free lifetime registration
  • Vaccinated against Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2)
  • Certificate for FREE "well bunny" vet checkup (with participating vets; approx value $60)
  • A lifetime of support and education to help you care for your new rabbit companion

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The Smart Way to Choose a Rabbit

Are you considering adding a rabbit to your family? San Diego House Rabbit Society (SDHRS) recommends the following to help make adopting a new rabbit companion a breeze!

Examine Your Lifestyle and Expectations

Are you a quiet single or a busy family with children? How you live your life will affect the kind of home you offer to a new animal companion. If you are very busy, with many children's activities or you work long hours, you should consider adopting a bonded pair of bunnies. Also keep in mind that the activity level of your rabbit will make a difference based on the amount of time you have to give. More active bunnies will tend to get into trouble more quickly if you do not pay enough attention to them or give them enough time outside of their cage or pen. Remember - sometimes opposites attract. Quieter and calmer rabbits are likely to do better around a more busy or "active" family with children. Those individuals or families with more time on their hands will have more interaction to give to a more active rabbit.

Are you hoping to be able to hold your bunny a lot? Most bunnies are not comfortable being held but we can point you toward bunnies who are more tolerant of holding and cuddling.

If your family is very busy, you should consider adopting a bonded pair of bunnies as they can keep each other company during those times you are not at home.

Personality is the key to a happy adoption. Let our adoption counselors help you find the bunny(s) with the right personality to match your family.

Get the Whole Family Involved

Choosing a new family companion is exciting! Start the process at home by polling all family members on their preferences, including physical characteristics that appeal to you, and what personality will best suit your home environment and family. Our Adoption Counselors will help you translate that information into a great match! If you have other pets at home, be sure to tell your counselor about them and how they live.

If you are looking for a companion for an existing bunny, it's best to set an appointment ahead of time so we can assist you in the selection and bonding process. Learn more about bonding bunnies at A Companion for Your Rabbit.

Learn All You Can Ahead of Time

The House Rabbit Society has, for over 33 years, cared for and adopted out more than 40,000 rescued rabbits. During this time we have closely studied rabbits to learn their behaviors, perfect their diets, create the best housing setups, and learned about their medical concerns.

Here at SDHRS, we've been rescuing rabbits and educating our community since 1992. We offer weekly House Rabbit Fundamental seminars where you can learn about basic bunny care, diet, litter box training, handling and more. Learning more at these classes can help you anticipate and manage potential behavior issues by learning what's normal and how to work with bunny's behaviors.

The internet is also a great source of information on rabbit care. SDHRS recommends that you check out www.rabbit.org, and other established rabbit rescue sites. Our website, contains a wealth of information for those thinking of adding a rabbit companion to their family.

At your local library, look for the book "House Rabbit Handbook: How to Live with an Urban Rabbit," by Marinell Harriman. Other good books about "house rabbits" are:

"A House Rabbit Primer: Understanding and Caring for Your Companion Rabbit," by Lucille C. Moore

"Living with a House Rabbit," by Linda Dykes and Helen Flack

"Rabbits for Dummies," by Connie Isbell

"Why Does My House Rabbit...?" by Anne McBride

When interacting with your potential rabbit companion, ask our Adoption Counselor about his/her personality, past life experiences (if known), and behavior. You'll need to know if the rabbit you are meeting is comfortable with dogs, cats, or small children. Personality is key to an successful adoption and we can help you choose wisely. Adoption counselors are happy to answer all of your questions. You can learn more on our website at Rabbit Care.

Be Prepared for Your New Rabbit's Arrival

Being prepared ahead of time is great; our adoption counselors can help you find everything you need for your new rabbit companion, at our online SDHRS Bunny Store. We have x-pens for housing, and everything your bunny needs to live in comfort. We stock the best and healthiest pelleted foods, litter box bedding, food & water bowls, litter boxes, toys, and more. You can be sure that you're setting up your bunny's new home with his/her comfort and health in mind. Before your adoption, you can pick up the basics for your bunny, with final items (food, litter box size) chosen after you adopt. Prices at our store are very competitive with pet stores, and isn't it great to support a store that helps abandoned bunnies? See more at SDHRS Bunny Supply Store.

Adopt from a Rescue or Shelter

Rabbits are the third most-relinquished animals to shelters, and many get dumped in the wild by misinformed people who think they can live with the wild bunnies. There are so many bunnies available for adoption; purebred, big, small, many personalities and breeds. San Diego House Rabbit Society has many bunnies to choose from at our Adoption Center. We offer a wealth of resources to adopters, including information on how to choose a rabbit companion, classes on behavior and care, supplies to house your bunny in comfort, and grooming and boarding services for your bunny. Your adoption will include a rabbit that is already spayed or neutered, vaccinated and litter box trained, a FREE "new bunny" checkup with a participating veterinarian). Stop by to visit us today!

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SDHRS Adoption Center

Welcome to San Diego's first rabbit-only adoption center, "Bunnies by the Beach!" Our shelter for rabbits showcases adoptable rabbits in a home-like setting and educates the public on how to properly house and care for domestic rabbit companions.

Location: San Diego House Rabbit Society, 4807 Mercury Street, Suite A, San Diego, CA 92111

Due to challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the emergence of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2), the facility is closed to the public but available for store-side pick up.

Sunday - Saturday - 12:00pm - 5:00pm

No cages here - the Center houses its adoptable rabbits in roomy exercise pens (aka x-pens) with toys, a large litter box with hay, food and water bowls and more. Bunnies get plenty of run time in roomy play areas and staff and volunteers give them lots of love and attention.

The Center includes a housing area for the rabbits, a laundry room, intake (quarantine) room, a classroom for seminars and special events, a break room for volunteers, and the Bunny Supply Store which sells supplies for house rabbit companions.

The Adoption Center needs volunteers and rabbit sponsors - for a recurring donation of just $30 per month, you can virtually adopt a needy rabbit and ensure he or she has every thing needed to make life comfortable. To learn more about sponsorship email sponsor@sandiegorabbits.org.

If you'd like to volunteer, contact volunteer@sandiegorabbits.org and complete our online volunteer application under the tab "Volunteer." Two shifts are available each day: 10:00am to 2:00pm and 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Check our calendar of events for upcoming Volunteer Information Session dates.

Help find homes for San Diego's homeless rabbits; they need your love, your care, and your support in helping them to be comfortable at the Center and to find new homes. Contact us to find out the many ways you can help.

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Rehoming Your Rabbit

If you adopted your rabbit from San Diego House Rabbit Society originally, and can no longer keep him/her, please contact us at 858-565-2869 or email us at hrs@sandiegorabbits.org. We will schedule a return appointment with you. Let us know if there is a way we can help you problem-solve to keep your rabbit(s). Our adoption agreement requires rabbits to be returned to SDHRS if you cannot keep them.

SDHRS does not take owner-relinquished or "found" rabbits, but works with local shelters and humane societies to aid them in finding homes for rabbits in their care. There is an overwhelming number of abandoned rabbits, therefore SDHRS works closely with area shelters to prevent them from euthanizing rabbits due to overcrowding, or inability to care for special medical or behavioral issues. Our few foster homes are always full with rabbits coming from shelters.

With our help, the shelters have good adoption programs for rabbits and do find them homes. By turning the rabbit into your local shelter, SDHRS can then help it through our shelter-support programs. You can see adoptable shelter rabbits on our Rabbits Available for Adoption page.

If you do not want to take the rabbit to a shelter, your next option is to house the rabbit yourself (or board her) and advertise until you find the right home. There are groups like the San Diego Indoor Rabbit Community on Facebook, talk with friends, coworkers, and family to see if they want a rabbit or ask if they can help spread the word.. It is possible to find good homes for rabbits, but it takes time, commitment and strategy.

There are two steps to finding homes for rabbits. The first is to prepare the rabbit for adoption. This includes spaying or neutering, litter box training, socializing, and learning bunny's health status and personality. The second step is to aggressively seek an ideal home by advertising and screening callers for suitability.

Spaying or neutering makes a rabbit calmer and easier to litter box train, and thus improves the chance of being adopted as an indoor companion. It also insures that no more unwanted rabbits will be produced after the rabbit leaves your home.

Litter box training is achieved by fastening a litter box to the side of the cage in the corner the rabbit uses as a bathroom. Once bunny is using the box, try him in a safe, bunny-proofed room with one or more litter boxes. ("Bunny-proofed' means a place where items that rabbits find tempting to chew, such as house plants and telephone and electrical cords, have been placed out of reach.) In a matter of days a neutered rabbit can be advertised as "house-trained."

The more attention you give your bunny, the more she will show off for prospective adopters. Petting the rabbit (most prefer the top of the head) will teach her to look for affection from humans. Follow up on any health problems with a trip to the vet, so you can tell the new owner what to expect.

When placing ads, state your rabbit's strong points: "neutered," "house-trained," "affectionate," friendly." Asking a minimum $25 fee in the ad excludes callers wanting a free meal for their pet reptiles. People willing to commit to owning a rabbit will gladly pay an adoption fee.

To screen people who answer your ad, imagine what kind of home you want for your rabbit, and then stick to your ideal. Engage the caller in a conversation about their past pets to find out what they're looking for in a pet. Explain that you are asking questions because you want the new owner and the rabbit to be happy. Present a realistic picture of what rabbits are like. If you feel the home is not suitable, make an excuse. Politely tell the caller that your rabbit doesn't do well with children, isn't used to hutch-living, is scared of dogs, or whatever. Also, use our guideline "Before You Adopt" to formulate questions to ask prospective adopters, when screening for new homes for your rabbit.

At SDHRS, we look for indoor homes for our rabbits, so that they will enjoy lives that are both safe and social. The rabbit has an enclosed home (cage or x-pen) but is allowed some supervised freedom daily. How soon a rabbit becomes an un-caged roommate depends on how bunny-proofed the home is, and on the maturity and personality of the rabbit. The more involved the owner is, the more freedom the rabbit will be given. Another SDHRS criteria is that an adult, not a child, be the rabbit's primary care-giver.

NEVER release your rabbit into the “wild”.

We hope you have success in placing your rabbit.

If you are located in San Diego County, you can take your rabbit to one of the following shelters or humane societies who have rabbit adoption programs. Call ahead to be sure they have room.

However, as stated above, the best - and safest - place for your rabbit is is at home, with you.

Address/Phone Numbers of Shelters and Humane Societies that have rabbit adoption programs:

Chula Vista Animal Care Facility 130 Beyer Way, Chula Vista, (619) 691-5123

North San Diego County Dept of Animal Services 2481 Palomar Airport Rd., Carlsbad, (760) 438-2312

Rancho Coastal Humane Society 389 Requeza, Encinitas, (760) 753-6413

San Diego Humane Society 5500 Gaines St., San Diego, (619) 299-7012

South San Diego County Dept of Animal Services 5821 Sweetwater Rd., Bonita, (619) 263-7741

Click here to get on our waitlist.

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