December 28. 2012 8:48PM

Abandoned rabbits available for adoption bring smiles to locals

New Hampshire Union Leader

Kaitlin McNicholas, 11, of Merrimack, with her mom, Robyn, holds New Jersey, a Lop Eared Rabbit at the Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter on Friday. New Jersey was rescued with a group of 49 rabbits, temporarily named after states to keep track of them. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
MANCHESTER -- About 15 rabbits abandoned at a foreclosed home earlier this month are available for adoption this weekend at Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter.

The rabbits are among the survivors of more than 50 found in deplorable conditions outdoors when Manchester Police animal control officers investigated the home on Dec. 22.

Six rabbits were dead, but 49 others survived despite being malnourished and some suffering from urine scald from having to live in their own waste. They were turned over to the shelter, which doesn't often handle rabbits on such a large scale.

"It's not an every day event. That's for sure," said Angelica Ladd, spokeswoman for Friends of the Manchester Animal Shelter. "We don't usually handle a lot of small animals." The no-kill shelter at 490 Dunbarton Road more typically houses dogs and cats.

The Animal Rescue League took in about 12 or the rabbits and other organizations were to take some of the others once they were spayed or neutered on Friday. About eight have been living in foster care and shown they are adaptable to family life.

"Fortunately, most of the rabbits were in really good shape," shelter manager Shelley Greenglass said.

One of the rabbits needed treatment for an respiratory infection, but the others recovered quickly from minor ailments, Ladd said.

The shelter will be offering the rabbits for adoption starting Saturday, when all the sterilizations have been completed. The shelter will base the adoptions on the best home for the rabbits and require the adopting families or individuals to keep the rabbits as indoor pets.

The adoption fee is $60 per rabbit or $100 for two. The money covers the costs of spaying or neutering the animals. Volunteers donated food, hay and other supplies to help with the care provided by the non-profit shelter.

Shelter hours Saturday are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.

"We're grateful to everyone who has contributed to the care of the rabbits. It truly has been a community effort," Greenglass said. It will be really nice to see the rabbits go to good homes."