SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - In 10 days last month, 11 rabbits were allegedly abandoned at Sentosa and Admiralty Park.
Volunteers from private rabbit rescue groups and officers from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) rushed to save the rabbits.
The New Paper understands that eight were rescued and have been put up for adoption. The fate of the other three remains unknown.
On Dec 11, six rabbits were allegedly abandoned at Admiralty Park, said Ms Toni Tan, 42, a volunteer with private rabbit rescue group Bunny Wonderland.
On Dec 27, a family of five rabbits was spotted at an open-air carpark at Sentosa's Tanjong Beach.
On Dec 26, Ms Tan, a regional training manager, searched Admiralty Park and was chased by three monkeys baring their fangs at her.
Ms Tan said: "I think they were attracted to the fruits we brought to lure the rabbits. It was scary, but I threw a stick to shoo them away."
Using carrots, she and two others captured three rabbits.
Bunny Wonderland co-founder Lynne Tan, 35, contacted The New Paper about the incidents.
Ms Lynne Tan told TNP on Jan 3 that she believed that in both cases the rabbits were home-bred.
She said cases of home-breeding are common, since it is not compulsory for rabbits to be sterilised. Two years ago, the group rescued 52 rabbits from a Commonwealth house.
AVA told TNP that the number of alleged animal abandonment cases increased from 58 in 2016 to 79 for the first 11 months of last year.
But its figure for alleged rabbit abandonment cases fell from 26 in 2016 to 19 for the first 11 months of last year.
SPCA's executive director Jaipal Singh Gill said the society knew of 28 cases of rabbit abandonment in 2015 and 20 in 2016.
He added: "The SPCA is concerned that we are still seeing quite a number of abandonment cases. Abandoned rabbits cannot survive on the streets or in parks and forests. These animals will likely die a painful death if they are not rescued."
Vice-president of the House Rabbit Society of Singapore, Ms Jacelyn Heng, 30, said: "We encourage owners to sterilise their rabbits."
AVA said those who abandon their pets can be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed up to a year.
These cases can be reported to AVA via its 24-hour hotline 1800-476-1600 or www.ifaq.gov.sg/AVA/apps/feedback.aspx