ST CHARLES, Mo. — What Katie Kottmeyer started as a way to save a small animal has transformed her home into a place where every bunny is welcome.
“I rescued a bunny in college,” said Katie Kottmeyer. “I took him from a butcher and snuck him into my dorm room. We’ve rescued over 450 since the beginning of last year.”
As the founder of Dolly’s Dream Home Rabbit Rescue, Kottmeyer said the requests for surrenders are seemingly never-ending.
“Just last week alone we got 188 requests,” said Kottmeyer. “Some days we get 10. Somedays we get 30. It just depends. Right now, we have about 70 bunnies in our program. We just got asked to take a 100+ hoarder case a day ago and we can’t accept them all.”
Though Kottmeyer tries not to turn anyone away, she said it’s becoming more common for people to simply turn them loose as if they were a cottontail.
“They’re actually different species with a different number of chromosomes like a hamster and an alligator,” said Kottmeyer. “Domestics can’t regulate their body temperatures well, they don’t burrow, and they’re easily picked off by predators.”
In some cases, people actually threaten to kill the animals if Dolly’s Dream Home Rabbit Rescue can’t take them.
“Rabbits don’t have the same protections as dogs and cats even though they’re the third most adopted animal in the U.S.,” said Kottmeyer.
While Illinois requires breeders to register with the Department of Revenue it’s a different story in Missouri.
“There are no regulations for rabbits in Missouri,” said Kottmeyer. “There are no laws for rabbits in Missouri, and it’s a disaster.”
That’s why every rabbit that comes through Dolly’s Dream Home is fixed, vetted, and litter trained before they can be adopted.
Kottmeyer said it’s time for the state to step in and regulate rabbit breeders.
“We want to adopt out all of the bunnies we get that’s obviously the goal so we can intake more,” said Kottmeyer. “I think there needs to be some sort of restrictions. I think there needs to be some sort of law.”
Dolly's Dream Home Rabbit Rescue has posted a list of things you should consider before getting a rabbit.
While you're there you can even look at the bunnies already up for adoption.