A DALMELLINGTON rabbit lover has teamed up with a Cumnock vets to help raise awareness for rabbits who are abandoned at Easter.

The message from Marny Murphy and Crossriggs Vets is to buy a toy rabbit at Easter, not a real one.

Marny explained: “Rabbits are a 10 year commitment, they need food and water available at all times and a warm clean place to live. They are sociable animals so need companionship, lots of love attention, toys, veterinary care, vaccinations, everything that any other pet needs.

“A toy rabbit doesn’t, so get rabbit wise before you commit.

“Pet stores sell rabbits at Easter and a lot can get abandoned – just like dogs at Christmas. Every few years I campaign to get people to buy toy rabbits instead.”

Marny is also raffling off rabbits she has knitted to raise money for four animal causes and has teamed two of them up with Easter treats to be raffled at Crossriggs.

She added: “With the help of three other ladies, we knit toy animals and we hold online raffles and auctions to raise money for four separate animal causes.

“They are Wilma and friends, Crossriggs lost and abandoned animals, Hope animal shelter and candyfloss ferretry. The Katy rabbit with Kinder Egg and Peter Rabbit with Creme Egg are being raffled just know and raffle tickets can be purchased from Crossriggs Veterinary Clinic.”

The Scottish SPCA care for hundreds of abandoned rabbits each year and they echo Marny’s sentiments.

Mike Flynn, Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent, said: “There are lots of loving rabbit owners who treat their pets like one of the family and give them all the care and attention they need.

“But sadly this isn’t true in all cases.

“Rabbits are highly intelligent, sociable and can make fantastic family pets, though we strongly advise parents that they and not their children need to take responsibility for their welfare.

“Pets are not toys and should never be given on a whim or as a gift.”