Louisville Rabbit Confiscation: Judge Awards Custody to Shelter

Indiana HRS Helps With Care, Secures Rescue Placements for 100 Rabbits



Indiana House Rabbit Society was contacted by Metropolitan Animal Services (Louisville, KY) on Tuesday, September 4th requesting help.  The shelter confiscated 100 rabbits on Friday, August 31st and needed rescue placement as they do not have the facilities to house so many rabbits.  Without rescue placement, they would need to euthanize the overwhelming majority of the rabbits for lack of space.

Having been involved in the Watseka confiscation (Chicago Heights, IL) earlier this year, we knew that this would not be an easy situation with a quick end-point.  Indiana HRS offered on-site assistance to care for the rabbits while the court case was decided, which the shelter gratefully accepted. 

Indiana HRS and EARPS Respond to Shelter Plea

Three Indiana HRS volunteers living in or very near Kentucky have been assisting Metropolitan Animal Services with daily care since the beginning:  cleaning, feeding/watering/providing hay.  This assistance was critical to meet daily dietary needs for the rabbits and set-up the weekend teams for success.  Thank you so much for your dedication to this very deserving group of rabbits!

Indiana HRS and EARPS sent volunteer teams on weekends.  We cataloged rabbits in the confiscation, identified medical conditions requiring treatment (almost 35% of the rabbits were labelled "urgent"), medicated rabbits (over 30 at this point), fed/watered/provided hay, performed major cleaning for rabbits in the shelter, and improved living conditions as additional cages became available. 

To put a "face" to these rescue rabbits, please see the blog entries from one of our on-site volunteers:

(First Visit) http://www.deitchley.com/blog/2007/09/09/325/

(Second Visit) http://www.deitchley.com/blog/2007/09/16/337/

There are 79 Dutch rabbits, 15 Flemish Giants, 3 Netherland Dwarfs, 2 Havanas (? not a breed expert), and 1 Angora.

Court Case Decided:

On Tuesday, September 18th, the Judge awarded custody of the rabbits to Metropolitan Animal Services.  The "owner" is allowed to retrieve 25 rabbits, which is aligned with local animal ordinances.

I am pleased to report that Indiana HRS and a local rabbit-savvy veterinarian networked extensively to secure rescue placement for all rabbits at the shelter!  Many thanks to the following groups for stepping up to help out:  Indiana HRS, EARPS, Kentucky Shelters, Wisconsin HRS, Wisconsin Shelters, St. Louis MO HRS, Chicago HRS, Arkansas HRS, North Georgia HRS, and Indianapolis and Kentucky rabbit-savvy veterinarians. 

We were able to successfully negotiate transfer of intact rabbits to groups with mandatory spay/neuter polices.  Many of the rabbits are ill, this will result in the best outcome for the rabbits.  Ill rabbits will get the chance to recover and currently healthy rabbits will be the comfort of home-based foster care to remain healthy.  All rescue groups will begin pulling rabbits the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd.  We intend to pull all rabbits from the shelter eligible for rescue within 7-10 days.

Request for Assistance

Please consider a monetary or supply donation to one of the rescue groups rescuing confiscated rabbits from Metropolitan Animal Services.  Some rabbits are compromised and will require extensive medical treatment before they are healthy enough for spay/neuter surgery.  Please contact the above rescue organizations directly for their specific requests.

If you would like to support Indiana HRS, consider donating supplies for our quarrantine foster care facility in Louisville, KY.  We are in desperate need of the following supplies:


Large Cages

Large Dog Crates

Pet Pens

Water Crocks

Large and Extra Large Litterboxes

Pelleted wood bedding (e.g. Woody Pet, Equine Pine, Wood Stove Pellets)

Finally, monetary donations are always needed to defray veterinary expenses.  Many rabbits are ill and will require veterinary treatment prior to spay/neuter surgery.


This has been truly a labor of love for Indiana HRS volunteers.  I am proud to be part of an organization with such passionate, dedicated individuals.  The passion of our volunteers inspires great things in our young, learning organization.

My heartfelt thanks to each and every individual who has contributed to this rescue effort.

Dawn Sailer-Fleeger

Chapter Manager, Indiana HRS

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