Rabbitwise – A Decade of Rescuing Rabbits

by Denise Carey-Costa

Whenever you think about animal rescues you immediately think of dogs and cats.  What about rabbits? Does anyone ever stop to consider all the suffering we have inflicted on rabbits for decades?

We have experimented on rabbits, used them for coats and other clothing items, make cashmere sweaters from baby rabbits, carried their feet for good luck, and dyed them all kinds of atrocious colors and gave them away as Easter presents.Rabbit

What do you think happens to all those bunnies after the novelty of Easter has worn off? Pretty much the same thing that happens to puppies once the novelty of Christmas wears off.  They end up dumped somewhere or killed or abandoned.

Lana Lehr founded Rabbitwise in 2003 after adopting a rabbit.  The poor rabbit was very timid and frightened and rarely came out of his cage.  Lana bonded with this little rabbit and eventually brought him out of his fear.  Lana decided rabbits needed advocates as well to look out for their wellbeing. So Rabbitwise was born.

Rabbitwise  is primarily concerned with promoting the welfare of and increasing the quality of life of an individual, group, and/or class of domestic rabbits by:

-offering educational, consulting, coordination, and/or support services to potential and current rabbit guardians;

-offering educational, consulting, coordination, and/or support services to the rescue, shelter, veterinary, and advocacy communities; and by

-advocating publically and privately for humane treatment of rabbits locally and nationwide.

By providing easy access to local and internet rabbit resources, public education, consultation and referral services, Rabbitwise hopes to assist current and potential rabbit caretakers in making responsible decisions about rabbits, in giving high quality care to rabbits, and in understanding the nature, behavior, and communication styles of rabbits.

By participating in community and nationwide animal welfare organizations’ programs, by mounting public relations campaigns where appropriate, and by offering community programs for rabbits, Rabbitwise hopes to raise public and private consciousness about rabbits to help them achieve the status that dogs and cats currently enjoy.

Rabbitwise also works in the field rescuing rabbits from overloaded shelters, hoarders, they also offer transport services across the country. They were instrumental in assisting with misplaced rabbits during Hurricane Katrina.  They also actively protest the use of rabbits for cosmetic testing and killing them for their fur.

According to Lana, rabbits are very social, creative creatures that enjoy petting and affection and can be trained to use a litter box.  Lana herself has four rabbits and each one has distinctive personalities. Her rabbits are named Abner, Cassady, Chloe, Tucker and will respond if their names are called.

Rabbitwise is a non-profit organization, 501(c) (3) public charity. Most, but not all, of Rabbitwise’s volunteers are rabbit guardians who have also been educators of rabbit care and behavior, volunteers, and/or members of the board of directors of other rabbit welfare and rescue organizations.

RabbitWise’s sponsors are people from all walks of life who believe that domestic rabbits, as the most popular companion animal after dogs and cats, should be afford the same legal status and standards of care that are afforded to other companion animals. Sponsorship in RabbitWise helps to advance education to prospective and current rabbit guardians, advance advocacy programs, and enable the creation of new programs.

Visit their website at 

“Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character; and it may be confidentially asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”
– Schopenhauer

About Denise Carey-Costa

Denise Carey-Costa is an author, animal rights activist, and journalist is based in Orlando, FL. She is currently working on a film project Tony’s Tale: Tragedy in Arizona.



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