Venture Down the Rabbit Hole

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

Anne Martin discovered her passion for rabbits when she began volunteering with the House Rabbit Society nearly five years ago and has been with the organization ever since.

By Jeannie Howard

For families and individuals looking to bring a new pet into their homes, cats and dogs are often the most popular choices; however, the House Rabbit Society of Richmond encourages people to consider rabbits for their next pet.

Inspired by Marinell Harriman’s book, The House Rabbit Handbook: How to Live with an Urban Rabbit, a group of like-minded individuals founded the House Rabbit Society in 1988. The organization’s mission from the beginning, according to Anne Martin, executive director of the Richmond chapter, has been to further educate their community on the proper care of rabbits. “From the beginning, the organization has been an educational and rescue organization for how people can live wonderful lives with indoor bunnies,” she said.

Over the past thirty years, the House Rabbit Society has spread from its original chapter in Richmond to 28 chapters throughout the United States and three internationally. While every chapter is an individual 501c3, they all work together, share information, and operate according to the same mission.

A major part of the work House Rabbit Society does is rescuing rabbits from shelters. “Rabbits are the third most surrendered animal to animal shelters, after cats and dogs; it is surprising to a lot of people,” shared Martin. “And, in our Bay Area shelters, 60 to 70% of the rabbits that come into the shelters are actually strays that accidentally escaped.” Given the large rate of surrender and strays, Martin said that anyone would be hard-pressed to find an animal shelter that did not have rabbits available for adoption. “They may not be right in the front cages, but if you ask they’ve got rabbits.”