Taking a stroll down York Boulevard over the weekend, passersby may come across the pet supply store Rosie Bunny Bean with rabbits under its outdoor canopy. Floor Manager Audrey Ramirez said that for years, Rosie Bunny Bean has collaborated with North Central Animal Shelter to bring a variety of rescue animals to the store. The store’s most recent adoption events, which have focused on rabbits and other small animals, were organized to help combat overcrowding in the local shelter.
“[The shelter volunteers] will set up partially outside and also inside, so that people can come in, they can socialize with the rabbits,” Ramirez said. “[If] someone who already has a small animal wants to get another one, they can bring them in and socialize them to make sure that the two rabbits will get along with each other.”
Kat Laskey, a volunteer at North Central Animal Shelter located in LA, said that the shelter is currently overcrowded and is in dire need of volunteers, who are essential in providing enrichment and exercise to the animals. She said that irresponsible pet ownership is a leading cause of the problem.
“People are not spaying and neutering and allowing their animals to breed, even though there aren’t enough homes for the existing animals at the shelter,” Laskey said.
In addition to overbreeding, Ramirez said that many owners underestimate the commitment it takes to care for a rabbit.
“A lot of people, unfortunately, don’t realize the care that goes into a bunny and a lot of the times will go out and adopt the rabbit, especially during Easter time,” Ramirez said. “And then once that [novelty] wears down, they, unfortunately, could get dumped or just returned to the shelter.”
Laskey said the overwhelming number of animals at the shelter is affecting the animals’ living conditions, including the amount of attention they receive from staff members.
“The animals are just sitting in their cages all day every day, never getting out for enrichment,” Laskey said. “When the shelter is understaffed, there are times when there’s no one working that room. It can look as bad as no water in the water bottles.”
According to Ramirez, Rosie Bunny Bean wanted to help North Central animals find homes by holding adoption events for customers at their store.
“They can come into pet the rabbits, hold the rabbits, even if they didn’t want to adopt one, and also just to get educated on the care,” Ramirez said.
Laskey said that these events have been very beneficial in getting animals out of the shelter.
“I think it’s a really important way to get shelter pets seen. The bottom line is that the vast majority of people in our city will never visit an animal shelter, just due to lack of interest, or sadly, some people who claim to be animal lovers won’t visit because they find it too traumatizing,” Laskey said. “A pet store with high traffic is, in my opinion, a perfect place to host adoptions because you already have the foot traffic of pet owners who are going in for supplies for their existing animals.”
Laskey said that one rabbit was adopted on-site at the Oct. 9 adoption event. Within 72 hours, the three other rabbits brought to the event were also adopted.
Another recent adoption event was successful, Ramirez said, as they were able to prevent a number of rabbits from being euthanized.
“They came in with like two guinea pigs and five different rabbits,” Ramirez said. “All of them went home that day, even if it wasn’t a forever home, they were able to find fosters for them because a lot of [the animals] were red-listed and were going to be put down that same week.”
Tina Rodriguez, manager of Rosie Bunny Bean, said that they not only wanted to aid overwhelmed shelters but promote the adoption of pets over shopping from breeders.
“It brings a lot of joy to us here, especially because we do advocate for rescues, and we would prefer people to adopt versus shop,” Rodriguez said. “Also, I love how it brings out more awareness to people because a lot of small animals get overlooked at shelters.”
Ramirez said Rosie Bunny Bean is planning to hold another adoption event in the near future, aiming for the beginning of December. People interested in fostering or adopting rabbits and other small animals can visit the store in-person or keep an eye on Rosie Bunny Bean’s social media.
Additionally, people interested in aiding North Central Animal Shelter can apply to become a volunteer at the LA Animal Services website.
Rosie Bunny Bean, 5053 York Blvd., Highland Park, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Saturday through Sunday.
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