The Missouri House Rabbit Society
July Happenings
Kenzie and Midnight - Best Friends Forever

Ray and Judy Jauer did not intend to adopt a new bunny after their last two had passed,
 but resistance was futile when they met Midnight.

The Jauers volunteer at The Bunny House.  Midnight was a new arrival when they came in February.  Not a shy bun, Midnight would dash to the door of her crate and beg for attention from anyone who approached.  Judy succumbed and discovered that Midnight was one of those rare buns who enjoyed being carried about and cradled like a baby.  Judy was smitten, and so was Ray.  They gave Midnight a home and, with that, came a friend.

"Midnight and Kenzi are playmates and enjoy chasing each other through the house," said Judy. "Kenzi will chase Midnight down the hall and into the bedroom. A few seconds later, it's Midnight's turn to chase Kenzi through the house. It's so cute." Kenzi is a rescue kitty from Hope Animal Hospital.  When Kenzi and Midnight were introduced, Judy said the friendship began when Kenzi started grooming Midnight.  "Now Midnight grooms Kenzi and we have a happy kitty and a happy bun."

Adjustments must be made for free roam bunnies, as Ray and Judy discovered.  Midnight liked to make herself inaccessible by hiding under the couch so the Jauers made a barrier of wire grids joined with zip ties (see photo.)  Wire grids can be purchased at; the Stor brand is $16.99 for 23 grids. 


The Jauers made another adjustment.  When they lost internet and phone service and the serviceman showed them the chewed cord, they covered their cords.  Hardware stores carry tubing; you can buy a package of pre-slit tubing or you can buy thicker, clear, vinyl tubing from a roll and slit it yourself with a box cutter.  Slip the cord inside.  Power cords are irresistible and a bunny is certain to find any exposed wire and snip it.  If your bunny is an especially aggressive chewer, there is a heavy-duty reinforced tubing that will thwart him.

Midnight was pulling up carpet and chewing the fibers.  She seemed ravenous.  Because she was a juvenile and energetic, Judy increased her pellets and Midnight became content.

Some buns chew carpet for fun.  Give them acceptable chew toys to curb boredom.  We know a bunny who lost interest when the carpet was sprayed with Ivory dish soap diluted with water.  Squares of ceramic tile can be placed in corners.  Furniture and baseboards can be wiped with a dry bar of Ivory soap.  Bitter spray products do not deter rabbits.

If you have a dog or cat and may want a bunny, it is wise to have us introduce the pet to the bunny before you commit to adoption.  Bunnies have strong attitudes.  They like some humans and not others.  They like some cats and dogs and not others.  Bunnies often dislike other bunnies.  I did a bonding session recently with two girls.  I sat inside the x-pen with them. The girls instantly attacked each other and it was vicious.  I separated them and got a nasty bite. 

If you want a companion for your single bun, it is smart to bring the bun to our shelter for introductions or contact your local House Rabbit Society chapter or one of its affiliates for bonding services.  Never, ever, bring a new rabbit home, expecting your rabbit to accept it.  Rabbits who dislike each other will fight to the death.

Meet Woody, our newest rescue

Joy writes: Woody was found in Woodland Park in Collinsville, Illinois by a compassionate woman who contacted one of our Illinois volunteers.  The volunteer took Woody and drove him directly to Hope Animal Hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken jaw, scraped nose, scraped chin and injured, infected eye.  With trauma wounds like that, it is likely that Woody was tossed from a car or kicked in the face.  The tiny, three-pound Mini Rex didn't stand much of a chance, but Dr. Linda Beisswenger was able to work wonders and Woody is recovering in one of our special foster homes where he is getting specialized medical care.

This is what we do.  It's what you do in supporting us.  Midnight and Kenzie show the happy kind of story we want for every bunny that comes in our door.  That's the "after" and it's because of you that Midnight has her wonderful "after."  Woody is a "before."  Because of you - the people who support us and the people who volunteer - we can save bunnies like Woody.

Just as you made it possible for us to accept 29 bunnies removed from outdoor hutches with no water on a freezing night in January, and make it possible for us to accept bunnies facing euthanasia at shelters, you give us the support we need to save bunnies discarded by the unfeeling.  I thank you.

Fireworks Are A Serious Danger To Rabbits.  Please watch this video: 

The loud noise of fireworks will alarm rabbits, causing them to panic and run headlong into objects or jump from perilously high places.  The sheer stress of being terrified can send a bunny into gut stasis, which must be treated immediately to get the gut moving again or the rabbit will die.  One of our most important documents is "A Bunny That Refuses Food Is A Bunny In Crisis."  If you don't have it, request it from Pat Daly at

Too, a frightened rabbit may be so stressed that he goes into shock or leaks deadly toxins into his blood, threatening his life.  This story was written by a member of the House Rabbit Society:

Clover's Story

“I wish someone had given me this information in time to save my dear Clover-muffin. Clover was not one to get frightened easily by loud noises. But, one July 4, a particularly sharp firecracker in a yard near ours went off and Clover bolted from her room and raced down the hall in such a panic that she ended up practically bouncing off the walls. I was unable to go near her for several minutes. When she finally calmed down, she seemed fine. Little did I know that the shock depressed her immune system terribly and that clostridium, a bacterium that is normally present in a rabbit’s system, was beginning to take over her little body.

"Two days later, Clover began to show signs of serious illness, but it was late on a Saturday. No rabbit vet could be reached. My regular vet had given me his home number, but he was out of town for the holiday. Clover became limp and mostly unresponsive that same night and passed away from a heart attack when the clostridium entered her heart the following morning. She passed on July 7, 2002, exactly one year to the day of her adoption.”

What can we do to protect them?
It is important to realize that a rabbit's hearing is far superior to ours.  The deep, booming sounds of public fireworks displays are dangerous enough, but home fireworks produce sounds that are even sharper and more startling.

Let's prepare our bunnies and other pets by turning on a radio or television on July 2-3, starting with a normal level and gradually increasing to loud.  Our bunnies will still hear the fireworks but the surprise will be less because they have become accustomed to loud, continuous noise.

Other Animals
More pets "go missing" on July 4 than any other day.  It's common sense to keep cats, dogs and all pets inside.  They have superior hearing, just like rabbits, and panic, just like rabbits.  Indoor animals have been known to break through screen doors and glass windows, trying to escape to a safe, quiet place.

Give pets a hiding place inside the house; a bunny should have a cardboard box. 
Stay near your pet and speak to him in soothing, calm tones. 
Before fireworks begin, exercise your pet and feed him his normal diet.  A tired animal with a full stomach will be more relaxed.

So, let's turn our radios up and enjoy a safe holiday!

Question for Scooter, the Bunny Editor

Question:  "I admit I am confused about how much I should feed my rabbit.  I don't want to overfeed him but he runs to the refrigerator every time I open the door.  He is quite the beggar!  Please advise."

Scooter Replies: You are a good parent to worry about overfeeding. When we get too many calories, fat accumulates inside our body wall, squeezing our organs so they don't work like they're supposed to.  Our health suffers and we are at risk when the vet gives us anesthesia for even simple procedures like a molar trim.  Here's what I recommend:

Youngsters (3 weeks to 4 months): Unlimited pellets (16% protein, 3-5% fat;) keep bowl full.

Juveniles (4 months to 5 months): Begin a gradual reduction to 1/2 cup daily.

Young Adults (5 months to 7 months): Begin a gradual reduction to 1/4 cup daily.

Adults (1 year and over): 1/4 cup daily for most bunnies.  Transition to pellets with 12-14% protein, 1.5-2% fat, minimum 20% fiber.  Switch sooner if bunny is putting on too much weight.  Always observe weight; when a bunny becomes overweight, health will decline.

Exceptions: Dwarfs (they weigh about 2 pounds) do fine on 1/8 cup daily.  However, if they are super-active, they can have 1/4 cup. 
Giant breeds (they weigh over 10 pounds) do fine on 1/4 cup unless they are not maintaining sufficient weight. Consult your vet.

Seniors (6 years and over): Some require a change in diet. If bunny develops a messy butt, consult your vet.  If bunny is losing weight, consult your vet; he may advise a higher-fat pellet.

  Important: Hay provides the crucial fiber and nutrition that a bunny needs. We make timothy hay available to our bunnies round-the-clock. Pellets are merely a supplement.  We give them simply to provide some vitamins and minerals that hay lacks.

In all dietary and weight matters, rely on the advice on a vet knowledgeable and experienced with rabbits. 

The Good Stuff:  You want a timothy hay-based pellet for adult rabbits. Good choices are: ZuPreem, Kaytee Timothy Complete (not Kaytee Fiesta), Oxbow Essentials, Purina Fibre 3 and Purina Mazuri.  Purina products can be ordered from a feed store but consider the bag size.  Mazuri comes in 5-pound bags, which is a good size to buy (pellets left over after six weeks get stale and must be trashed.)

The Bad Stuff:  Do not buy fancy bags of pellets combined with seeds, nuts, corn or "fruit and treat" bits.  They will shorten your bunny's life, and quite possibly kill it, because rabbits cannot digest seeds, nuts, corn. 
We do not recommend Walmart's "Small World" brand because it has too much protein, fat and calcium, and too little fiber.  Do not buy generic rabbit food from a feed store.  Do not buy pellets in 25- or 50-pound bags because the pellets will go stale and can kill your rabbit by blocking its gut - we've seen it happen.

Free Tee with membership for a very limited time!

This tee celebrates the opening of our shelter and was designed by member Sue Carter.  You can get it only during this membership drive.  You will receive one free tee with a $20 membership and you can buy additional tees for $10 each.  New adopters from us and the Humane Society can buy tees for $10 because you already have a year's free membership with our chapter.  We need to receive everyone's order by Wednesday, July 16.  Don't miss out on this great shirt!  You can pay your membership at The Bunny House or you can mail it to us.  To mail, click on the attachment, print the order form and mail it with your check to the address given.  If you can't print the form, I will do your form: Contact Pat Daly, or 618-632-2940.  Your shirts will be available in August.

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Franklin County Confiscation Saga Has A Happy Ending

These photos were taken at the start of a 10-hour trek to Minneapolis with 41 Franklin County buns
from the Humane Society of Missouri.  It was repeated with a second transport.
                 Our Chapter Manager Joy Gioia


Brian Thomas, Humane Society of MO Animal Cruelty Task Force                 Our member Melissa Katich

Joy's Story:  This has been an epic struggle.  It began in November when 197 rabbits were removed from horrendous conditions in Franklin County, Missouri.  It continued with a protracted legal battle with the rabbit owner.  Multiple litters were born after the bunnies arrived at the Humane Society (spays could not be done until the rabbits legally belonged to the Humane Society.)  The Humane Society erected 4'x4' pens for each rabbit and bonded pair so the bunnies would have space to move around.  Buns got cardboard boxes for privacy and paper bags for chew toys.  As you can imagine, the pens took up enormous space; the daily care was exhausting; the food and hay was costly and so was the legal battle.  Finally, the owner surrendered custody to the Humane Society, allowing us to do adoptions and find places for them to go.  Our shelter could only accommodate a few.

Many members stepped forward to adopt bunnies, particularly our volunteers who had been caring for them at the Humane Society.  About 30 bunnies were adopted.

Next came the effort to place as many buns as possible with House Rabbit Society chapters and reputable rescues - and the transports began: Member Thelma Miller drove buns to two rescues in Michigan; Dr. Ruth Decker and Joanne Hohlman drove buns to two rescues in Indiana; Mike Ruby drove buns to an adoptive home and a sanctuary in Colorado; I and the Bunderground Railroad delivered buns to two rescues in Texas.  We assisted the Humane Society with two separate transports to the Animal Humane Society in Minneapolis (photos above.)  The Humane Society placed some buns with adopters and we took the remainder.

Transportation Pending: Seven bunnies that we moved into our shelter are wanted in San Diego and two in Orlando, Florida.  Space is very tight at The Bunny House so if you can temporarily foster any of these buns, or one or two of our shelter buns, please contact me:  Type foster as the subject. 

My huge thanks to every single person who helped care for these bunnies over these many months, adopted them, fostered them, and transported them.  Thanks to the Humane Society of Missouri for investing so much financially, fighting so hard legally and working so hard physically to give these bunnies the chance for a good life!

Shelter Help Needed: With the extra bunnies occupying The Bunny House and volunteers taking summer vacations, we need more volunteers.  Please consider helping if only for a couple of hours.  We especially need help cleaning litter boxes on Tuesday afternoons, cleaning cages on Friday afternoons/evenings and Saturday mornings, 9am to 1pm.  We need help at the front desk when our member store is open: 7pm to 9pm Monday through Friday; 9am to 4pm Saturdays and 1pm to 4pm Sundays.  Please contact Bobbie Shewmaker:  Type volunteer as the subject.  Tell Bobbie what day you can help and what time. 

Twenty Four Carrots

To everyone who contributed to the success of the June 1 Bunny Expo!

Because so many of you volunteer for this huge event, the Bunny Expo keeps getting better and better.
Attendance topped 300 and many were new persons who came because they wanted to learn how to care for their bunnies. Because you participated, bunnies now have timothy hay and healthy pellets, safe housing, exercise outside their crates, water bowls instead of bottles, healthy treats instead of junk food.  We are grateful to Dr. Linda Beisswenger and Lea Gevais of Hope Animal Hospital for providing bunnies with complete health exams. The Expo produced six adoptions and gross income of $8,700, an increase of $1,800 from last year's Expo. 

This family traveled from Indiana specifically for the Expo and brought their Rex lop.
  Every Rex we knew had "up" ears but here was a floppy-eared Rex!


Below Left: Kate Moore posted: "Hi there! Just wanted to send you a note to say that the 
Bunny Expo was wonderful, and to tell you that Mary and Annabelle love their new (Busy Bunny Willow) tent!"

Members of our sewing club display a flannel cage pad that will some bunny very happy.

From left: Elaine Kuhlman, Mary Clare Kofron, Angie Muller and Stephanie Kline.


Joy's summary: Three cheers to chairmen Pat Daly and Bobbie Shewmaker and the scores of volunteers.  The Expo is a shining example of what this group does best - working together to make a better world for rabbit companions and the people who love them, and providing knowledge to give rabbits happier and healthier lives.  It helps individuals and families and it simply makes the world a nicer place.  Every time someone smiles; every time someone helps someone else; every time a kindness replaces a hardness in the world, it's a good thing.


We are honored to have been chosen as the site for the first national HRS Education Conference.  The dates are Sept. 27/28.
  Over 100 HRS educators, along with most chapter managers and HRS board members, will attend the conference at the Humane Society on Macklind Avenue.  There is limited space remaining that is open now to anyone who is interested. You can register and learn about the classes and speakers at

We will need lots of volunteers for a variety of tasks.  We have already heard from many of you, but we may need additional helpers considering the large number of persons who will be arriving in St. Louis.  We will need the following:
  • Drivers to/from the airport for arrivals and departures
  • Drivers to/from hotels and the conference site
  • Members who can provide a bedroom for the weekend so an educator can cut their cost to attend.  For some, this will make the difference in whether they can afford to come or not.
  • Driver to pick up boxed lunches Saturday and deliver to the conference
  • Driver to pick up boxed lunches Sunday and deliver to the conference
  • Set-up on Friday
  • Clean-up on Saturday after the conference
  • Clean-up on Sunday after the conference
  • Duties during the conference
  • Making our shelter spotless Thursday/Friday Sept. 25/26 for the welcome reception and tour.  HRS persons have told us they are anxious to see The Bunny House, one of only eight shelters operated by HRS chapters.

If you can help with any of these tasks, please contact Joy:  Type conference as the subject.

Exciting Announcement from the Georgia House Rabbit Society

Animal House has selected it for a shelter makeover!

The chapter purchased an older ranch home a few years ago as its headquarters and shelter.  It sits on one acre so there is room to expand if funds become available.  Two persons on the Animal House team recognized that rabbits are the third most abandoned pet and wanted to feature a shelter that is meeting their needs.  If you are a fan of Animal House, please go to its home page and "like" them on Facebook.  When they see that bunny people are supporting them, they are likely to dedicate additional episodes to rabbits.  Here is the website:

Meetings & Adoption Events

St. Louis meeting & Ice Cream Social on Tuesday, July 15:  We always meet on the third Tuesday of the month.  If we ever have to cancel, we will let you know. Meetings are free and we offer nail trims that are free for members; $5 for non-members. Bring a towel so bunny can relax on your table and a bit of hay or greens for a snack.  We meet at 7:30pm in the lecture hall of the Humane Society of Missouri, 1201 Macklind Ave., one stoplight west of the St. Louis Science Center.  Join us for fellowship and free ice cream!  Please bring with you a donation of paper towels for the shelter.

No Illinois meeting in July
: Our next meeting is 7pm Thursday, August 7 in the O'Fallon Public Safety Building (Police Department,) 285 N. Seven Hills Road, opposite the O'Fallon YMCA.  We will be covering bunny-care essentials you must know.  Bring a towel so bunny can relax on your table and a bit of hay or greens for a snack.

Adoption Events:  If you can help at these PetSmart and Petco events, please tell Marjorie Manahan: or call 636-734-3964.

PetSmart adoption events:
Saturday, July 12, 11-4pm, Manchester, 13957 Manchester Rd.
Saturday, July 19, 11-4pm, Brentwood Promenade
Saturday, July 26, 11-4pm, Chesterfield

PETCO adoption events:
Sunday, July 13, noon-4pm, Florissant, 2435 N. Hwy. 67
Sunday, July 27, noon-4pm, Brentwood Pointe

Group Activities

Sewing Club:  Meets Thursdays at 6:30pm at The Bunny House to cut fabric and sew.  You are invited to join them.  It's a fun group and their flannel cage pads, bunny hammocks and slings are quite popular. Contact:  If you have flannel fabric, used or new, they would be happy to have it.  Likewise with fabric for hammocks and slings.

Garden Club:  Do you like to work outdoors?  Our 2.5-acre property needs upkeep (we've got some vigorous weeds) and we want to initiate steps toward our vision of a walking trail, memorial garden, patio, possible vegetable garden and planting native plant species that won't require watering.  If this sounds exciting to you, contact Joy:  Type garden as the subject.

Building Committee: Having our own building is wonderful, but it takes a lot of care and maintenance.  We have minor needs like changing light bulbs, and major needs like putting a piece of guttering back in place.  We especially need a welder to fix a metal door.  Can anyone solder?  Is there a mechanic who can keep our forklift in peak condition?  If you have the skills to help us keep our building in good shape, Joy will be thrilled to hear from you:  Type maintenance as the subject.

Toy Committee: Would you enjoy making toys to sell in our member store and give to our shelter bunnies?  Contact Bobbie Shewmaker:

The Bunny House Gets Visitors

Last month, we were visited by a dozen animal science majors from the University of Nebraska.  The Bunny House was one of four animal facilities they toured to gain a broader view of the animal world.  We opened their eyes to the plight of domestic rabbits bought on impulse, then discarded.  They left with an appreciation for the volunteers at shelters like ours who give rabbits second chances.

(Photo):  Middle school students from Peoria, Illinois came to learn about rabbits.

Inquiries come to us from near and far on our email address and hotline.  Joy recently fielded a question on caring for a baby bunny - from a lady in South Africa!

Footnotes and Fun Stuff

Used Shelving
If you have shelving units who don't want, we can use them in our loft if they are no taller than 6 feet.  You can drop them off at The Bunny House.  It would be best if you put them in the garage.  Let Pat Daly know:

Shopping Amazon: I go to to make my purchases. It costs me nothing and our chapter gets free money.  Just designate House Rabbit Society of Missouri as your charity (confirm our location as Chesterfield - our P.O. address.)

Facebook and Twitter:  Do you know that our Facebook page has over 5,500 "likes"?  Do you know that we have an active Twitter account with over 300 followers?  If you enjoy Facebook and tweeting, please join us.  Lots of good stuff happens everyday.

New Toys In Our Shelter Store: When we watched a video of a bunny trying to figure out how to remove treats from one of our new IQ toys ($10-$15), we knew you would like them.  Here is the amusing video:

Bunny Video: I LOVE this video produced by Alison Giese of the San Diego House Rabbit Society.

Happenings Author: Pat Daly, volunteer and educator
Share your stories, photos, videos, questions for Scooter.  Contact Pat:

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