METAIRIE, La. (WGNO) - Veterinarian Dr. Gregory Rich with The Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana says people have been abandoning their pets in Lafreniere Park for years. Specifically, bunnies.
"Some of these animals in the park are able to hide and run, some of them run right up to a feral cat, and sometimes that fight doesn't end well," says Rich.
Rich says it's an unfair lifestyle for these domestic rabbits that are forced to fend for themselves.
He says the bunny population is now out of control, because people are not spaying or neutering these animals before dumping them at the Metairie park.
Did you know bunnies can have multiple pregnancies at the same time?
"Many of them are suffering, are malnourished," says June Booth with The House Rabbit Society Rescue and Education. "There won't be the same ones here the next time because they'll have passed on."
But Charlotte was lucky.
She was abandoned in Lafreniere Park and then rescued and taken to Rich's animal hospital.
She gave birth to a litter of 10. Five survived.
"She wasn't healthy enough to carry all 10, and that's what happens out in the wild if they're not healthy enough. Maybe those other five wouldn't have survived in the wild," says Rich.
And while Charlotte's story has a happy ending (she lived), there are dozens of other abandoned bunnies that might not share the same fate because humans made poor choices.
That's why Rich recommends doing your research to ensure you'll becomes a responsible pet owner.
He says these animals are loving, inquisitive companions, and they deserve so much more.