CottonTails® Rabbit and Guinea Pig Rescue
Annual Report 2012
Copyright: My aim on setting up this website was to share information for the purpose of helping rabbits, guinea pigs and their owners, and to that aim I am very happy for any of the material to be printed out for personal use. However, none of the material contained within the CottonTails website can be used for any purpose apart from personal use only without my express permission. Anyone found to be using any of the website content for non-personal use will be seen as an infringement of my copyright under the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and action will be taken. This is a huge waste of time and money that should be used for the good of the animals under my care, so please comply with this request. Many thanks!
[One of our success stories!]
CottonTails® Rabbit and Guinea Pig Rescue
Annual Report 2012
Charity Number 1078850
Established in 1993
Main Name: CottonTails®
Working Name: CottonTails® Rescue
Charitable Objects: To relieve the suffering of rabbits and other animals who are in need of care and attention in particular by providing and maintaining suitable accommodation for the reception and care of unwanted rabbits and other animals.
To advance the education of the public in the care and ownership of animals.
This year has seen a steady stream of rabbits, guinea pigs and some birds arriving throughout the year. Possibly due to the current economic climate we have not had the usual decrease in requests to take in unwanted rabbits that typically happens during the spring and summer months, but have instead had a waiting list operational for most of the year. A decrease in adoption rates has made this problem a priority to resolve, and thankfully an increase in match-up/bonding requests has kept the adoption level to manageable levels. Despite various challenges, we still managed to place 64% of rabbits in new homes within 1 month of them being ready for adoption, quite a feat! More on this below.
Our rabbit run replacement programme was almost completed during 2012, with just 2 metal runs waiting to be finished in 2013. The unseasonably wet weather that appeared to be with us all year took its toll, and almost all the outbuildings and aviaries started to leak significantly. Some repairs were undertaken towards the end of 2012, with the rest to be completed in the early part of 2013.
Another major undertaking was the start of the website redesign, which should have been finished in 2012 but due to technical problems the completion of the project has had to be carried over to 2013. Although the original website has been very well received, the new layout will see a more modern and easier to use design which I am confident will prove popular as it will be more straightforward to find specific content than the current design allows.
There was an increase in email enquiries during 2012 both for rehoming/adoption as well as for advice, but the telephone advice line still proved busy, supporting the need to provide both methods of contact.
In summary, 2012 has been a difficult year, but we have risen to the challenge well considering the financial constraints many people have found themselves in.
During 2012, 154 rabbits were taken in, and with the waiting list not clearing for most of the year, this resulted in a steady flow of unwanted rabbits arriving at the centre. It seems to be getting harder each year to find good homes, and as no healthy rabbit is put to sleep at CottonTails® this means that we have to wait for a pair (or single for match-up) to be adopted before the next rabbit can be called in from the waiting list.
Sexes – For the first time since the start of CottonTails® in 1993, there has been a bias in favour of females arriving compared to males, females comprising 62% of the total intake. However, I do not put any significance on these figures as over a quarter of the intake (27%) was whole litters of mixed sexes, with owners not knowing what sex they were before bringing them in.
Pairs versus singles – The majority of rabbits (70%) were adopted as match-ups for owners’ lonely bunnies, the remaining 30% being adopted as established pairs. This is largely due to our good reputation for high success rates with match-ups of bunnies of all ages.
Breeds - Lops comprised 30% of the intake, upright eared crossbred rabbits 25%, lionheads 18% and the remaining 27% being made up of various other breeds including Belgian Hares, rexes, dutch, dwarfs, English and one giant breed.
Age - Most of the rabbits taken in were under 3 years of age, with 27% of the intake being under 12 weeks, 27% between 12 weeks and 1 year of age, and 34% being 1 – 3 years old. Rabbits over 3 years of age consisted of the remaining 15% of the total intake.
Adoption timescale – This is calculated from the day the rabbit was actually ready for adoption after neutering and vaccinating. 64% were found new homes within 1 month, 27% between 1 – 3 months, 3% between 3-6 months, and 6% between 6 months and 1 year.
In common with previous years, frequent occurrence of dental disease was encountered, but this is the first year that we have gone over 30%, with a terrible 34% of the intake found to have significant teeth abnormalities. Our neutering policy continued as before, with rabbits of both sexes being routinely castrated or spayed at reduced cost by the RSPCA veterinary clinic in Bristol. Vaccination against VHD and Myxomatosis was given to all rabbits prior to adoption, and we are now using the new combined vaccine that was introduced during 2012, resulting in protection against both diseases in one injection that lasts for 12 months.
Our catchment area has again proved to be relatively wide, with 58% of people adopting rabbits or guinea pigs coming from Wiltshire, 16% from Somerset, 10% from Bristol, 7% from Bath and 9% from other areas, several from over 100 miles away. For people who brought in their rabbit or guinea pig to us, 61% came from Wiltshire, 16% from Somerset, 11% from Bath, 10% from other areas and 2% from Bristol. This is a significant difference from previous years where a significant amount of unwanted rabbits came from Bristol, and the change is likely due to the policy introduced during 2012 of asking for a donation of £10 to accept a rabbit into the centre. This change was introduced to prevent people dumping their rabbits here in Wiltshire to avoid the strict financial acceptance criteria of the major rescue centre in Bristol. However, exceptions were frequently made to this donation rule in cases of financial hardship or where the priority was to get the animal to safety as quickly as possible.
The intake of guinea pigs for 2012 was 72, comparable with previous years. Guinea pigs are far easier to rehome as shown in the figures that 84% were adopted within 1 month. The low overall intake reflects their better suitability as family pets compared to rabbits in respect more people offload their pet rabbit compared to putting their guinea pigs up for adoption.
Sexes - Of the total intake, 58% were male, 42% females. All single males were routinely castrated so that they could be matched with females and placed for adoption in pairs or as match-ups.
Pairs versus singles – 56% were adopted as match-ups for owners’ lonely guinea pigs, 44% as established pairs.
Adoption timescale – Most (84%) were adopted within 1 month of arrival, the remaining 16% being re-homed within 3 months.
Breeds – Most (85%) were short haired breeds, the remaining 15% being long haired.
Age - Most of the guinea pigs coming in were aged between 1-3 years (51%), with 18% over 3 years old, 17% aged between 12 weeks and 1 year, and 14% arriving as babies under 12 weeks.
Total income for 2012 was £17,304.21. Gift Aid has provided us with over £2000 which will be included in the accounts for 2013.
62% - Donations, Gift Aid
30% - Adoption Donations
8% - Admissions, Boarding
Several individuals and organisations have been invaluable to the continuation of CottonTails® financially, and I would like to give a very big thank you to all who helped even in a small way.
Animal Affairs (£600)
Pets At Home Support Adoption for Pets (£250) and Pets at Home (£1500)
Boo Boo’s Bunny Hotel (£100)
Pampurred Pets (£129.82)
All Saints Christmas Tree Festival (£30)
Coyney Lodge (£50)
Mr. and Mrs. Abbott
Mr. and Mrs. Curtis
Mr. and Mrs. Slocombe
Mr. and Mrs. Emery
Eden and Ava Parker
Mr. and Mrs. Semple
Mrs. Barbara Coe
Hazel Lambert and Barry Moth
Ukulele Light Orchestra
Dave and Denise Hope
Jenny Fraher (& bunny toys)
Various in memory of Mr. Barry Mileham
Mr. Steve Roake
Mrs. L. Smith
Mr. J. Arrowsmith-Brown
Mrs. J. Holmes
Miss Mary Loughlin
Our total expenditure for 2012 was £19,057.75. This gives a shortfall of £1753.54, but if the one-off bills are excluded (such as aviary roof repairs) the charity would have broken even. We are in the fortunate position of having a small buffer in the bank account, which means we can look forward to yet another year of rabbit rescue in 2013!
22% - Veterinary Expenses
20% - Food and Bedding
14% - Repairs and Renewals
12% - Utilities
10% - Vehicle Expenses
8% - Stationary etc.
8% - Office
3% - Advertising
2% - Waste Disposal
1% - Miscellaneous
CottonTails® could not continue its valuable work if it was not for the excellent support from some wonderful people who have given help in various ways. Sincere apologies for any omissions:
The Trustees for their continued support.
The RSPCA veterinary team headed by Damian Pacini in Bristol who carry out our neutering operations and most of our vaccinations, and without whom we could not continue.
Siobhan, Hazel, Marie, Damon, Claire, Wendy and Rachel who all took at least one turn to transport rabbits and guinea pigs to and from the vets in Bristol for neutering.
Verity who helps every other Saturday morning.
Jon Humphrey for his support with issues relating to the web site
My son Ben for continuing to care for the aviary birds and providing excellent holiday cover when I take a break, sons David and Fraser for taking on the rabbit water bottle duties and helping with cleaning out.
Last but not least, my husband Francis who not only provides the transport for the frequent waste disposal trips, medication, food and bedding pickups from the vet and rabbit/guinea pig rescues but also puts up with the inconvenience of living alongside a rabbit rescue centre!