Rabbit dumped and left to die by side of A63
ANIMAL rescuers have hit out at an uncaring owner who left a rabbit to die at the roadside.
The creature, named Shelly by staff at charity Hull Animal Welfare Trust, was found next to the busy A63, close to Gilberdyke.
A vet later confirmed the worst fears of staff and diagnosed that the rabbit was suffering from killer condition myxomatosis.
Shelly was put down at the charity's Sunnydene Animal Shelter in South Cave a day after she was found.
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Linda Lawson, small animal co-ordinator at the shelter, said: "We were disgusted anyone could just dump their pet rabbit. One can only assume Shelly was dumped because she was ill."
A bag containing straw and hay was found next to the rabbit by a motorist, who took it to the animal rescue shelter.
Mrs Lawson said: "Myxo- matosis is an awful condition.
"It causes a long and painful death for rabbits who catch it.
"This rabbit, when we checked on her the day after she was found, could not even open her eyes. This is a sign of myxomatosis."
Mrs Lawson said, out of kindness and respect for the animal, the charity's vet chose to put it down. She said: "It was necessary to end her suffering.
"We were very saddened. She was such a stunning rabbit."
Mrs Lawson said owners who dump rabbits, even if they are healthy, are effectively handing their pets a death sentence.
"They are not wild animals," she said. "They are pets. And they will not be able to survive by themselves.
"They will either fall prey to predators, starve or get run over on our busy roads."
Mrs Lawson said 20 unwanted or abandoned rabbits are being cared for at the stretched rescue centre.
More are being looked after by supporters of the charity until permanent homes can be found or spaces become available at the shelter.
Mrs Lawson says she is especially seeking to re-home Barbie, a white lop rabbit, and Pepsi, a black-and-white Dutch rabbit.
Both are thought to be about three years old and have been neutered.
Anyone wanting further information about adopting an animal should call the centre on 01430 423986.