With high spay/neuter fees, bunnies in Seattle multiplying like rabbits

SEATTLE -- In Seattle, bunnies are multiplying like, well, rabbits.

Pet rabbits are multiplying because most owners can't afford to get them spayed and neutered.

Gaze at a fluffy bunny and it's hard to refuse petting it or even taking it home, especially when the kids are begging for it. Take home a couple and a month later, you're likely to have a litter of rabbits.

Rabbits are not typically spayed or neutered, and can have up to 10 in a litter.

"A couple of days after Tess got here, she had a litter of seven," said pet rabbit owner Sandi Ackerman.

And now, five years later, Tess and two of her boys, Pete and Pat, still live at Rabbit Meadow where Ackerman shelters unwanted rabbits.

"Rabbit spays and neuters have gone up in this area, in the past two years to $200 to $400, $500," she said.

That's just way too much money for many, who are now simply not getting their rabbits fixed.

"This is one of the reasons we beg animal shelters to start spaying and neutering rabbits," Ackerman said.

The Seattle Animal Shelter will soon start providing this service for the public.

"We took it on because we're confident in our skills," said Kara Main-Hester of the Seattle Animal Shelter.

Doctors have been sterilizing rabbits right alongside cats and dogs for 15 years, but only performed surgery on rabbits it shelters for adoption.

"It's really important for the health of the rabbit and for help with potential aggression issues and behavior issues with the rabbits," Main-Hester said.

Seattle Animal Control will start spaying and neutering bunnies the first week of January for a $75 fee. Help is available for those who have a bunny and can't afford a fee. You can schedule appointments by calling 206-386-4260.