Stay up-to-date on what's happening at the Regional Animal Protection Society

You know what they say about rabbits

Last Sunday was a busy one at the RAPS Animal Hospital. Usually closed Sundays, the hospital opened up for a marathon series of 21 spay and neuter operations.

They say rabbits reproduce like, er, rabbits. That was what Rabbitats discovered again recently when they rescued a colony of rabbits from Richmond’s Dover neighbourhood. Every single one of the females they trapped was pregnant.

Rabbitats is a Richmond-based rescue that RAPS is proud to partner with to save and improve the lives of animals in our community. Now that we have the RAPS Animal Hospital, we are able to do so much more to help other rescue organizations.

On Sunday, Dr. Joseph Martinez and Dr. Veronica Gventsadze kindly donated their time and RAPS donated the equipment and supplies to perform the 21 procedures.

Rabbitats has two main rabbit sanctuaries and a network of “mico-sanctuaries” – where 10 or 20 rabbits live together on farms or in large yards. Sorelle Saidman, founder of Rabbitats, says her organization will not rescue rabbits until they have the resources to spay or neuter and house them. The support from RAPS helped allow them to rescue this colony – now they just need to find a place for the scores of rabbits to live, she says.

Through the City Animal Shelter, RAPS also rescues and adopts out rabbits. Because we are not a specifically rabbit-focused rescue group, though, our Shelter is limited to eight rabbits at a time to meet the Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, facilitated and published by the Canadian Advisory Council on National Shelter Standards. At present, many of the Shelter animals, including rabbits, are in foster care to reduce the burden on Shelter staff and permit social distancing.

The only not-for-profit veterinary clinic in Richmond, the RAPS Animal Hospital has remained open as an essential service during the COVID situation. The hospital has also ramped up supports to households facing economic challenges – COVID-related or otherwise. Partially or fully subsidized care and No-Interest Wellness Plans ensure no one is forced to make life-and-death decisions about their pets based on ability to pay.

In addition to Rabbitats, RAPS Animal Hospital has assisted other animal rescue agencies, including the BC SPCA, Lower Mainland Humane Society, Northwest Canadian Greyhound League, Straight Outta Rescue Society, Save A Life Society, Small Dog Rescue BC, Soi Dog Foundation, Loveabull Rescue Society, C.A.R.E.S.S. Rescue and Coogo Rescue Foundation to name a few.

“We feel so fortunate to have this community-owned veterinary facility to serve animals and their people,” says RAPS CEO Eyal Lichtmann. “This was our vision – a hospital built and supported by the community in turn supporting animals in the community.”