A LEADING animal welfare charity has launched an investigation after one of two emaciated pet rabbits was knocked down and killed after being abandoned on a lay-by beside a busy road.
The Scottish SPCA was contacted by a member of the public who had spotted a French lop-eared rabbit on the B9016 Keith to Buckie road last Wednesday.
And when inspectors arrived at the scene they found one terrified rabbit sitting in the lay-by and the body of a second dark brown rabbit which had been killed after being struck by a vehicle.
Lesley Crockett, a Senior Inspector with the SSPCA, said the surviving rabbit was emaciated and underweight and had extensive matting to his fur. The surviving lop-eared rabbit, who has been named Marius, is now recovering in the care of the SSPCA.
Senior Inspector Crockett said: “It appears both rabbits were abandoned in the lay-by, which is approximately half way along the B9016. This is a busy road and, while it’s tragic one was killed, it’s not surprising.”
She continued: “In my opinion, whoever dumped these rabbits couldn’t have cared whether they lived or died. Marius is extremely lucky he wasn’t injured or killed and we’re very glad he is now safe.
“However, he is emaciated and his coat was badly matted and stained yellow as a result of sitting in his own urine. Marius is now receiving the care he needs but he is poorly and it’s still early days.”
Senior Inspector Crockett added: “French lops are distinctive rabbits so it’s possible someone may recognise Marius and be able to tell us who owned him. We’d ask anyone with information to contact us as soon as possible.”
An SSPCA spokeswoman said: “Abandoning an animal is an offence and anyone found guilty of doing so can expect to be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.”