ABOUT 20 pregnant and baby rabbits were dumped in a field near a west Suffolk rugby club.
RSPCA bosses, who have so far captured 14 animals, are now trying to round up the remaining rabbits before they starve, are preyed upon or fall victim to freezing night time temperatures.
Deb Williams, rabbit rehoming officer for west Suffolk RSPCA, said she had been called to help on Sunday afternoon after a spectator at Thurston Rugby Club on School Road, spotted the young animals in a patch of wasteland.
Ms Williams, who said that rehoming pets in the recession is “hard”, claimed the rabbits could have been abandoned after their numbers got “out of control.”
She added: “It could be that someone has brought what they think is two boys or two girls, but they turned out to be a boy and a girl. After the first litter the mother can become pregnant the same day so you could get to this situation very quickly. Alternatively, it could be that someone has bred babies for Christmas and that no one wanted them.”
Ms Williams, of Norton, near Bury St Edmunds, said the rabbits were mixed breeds, but are all small and include lops and lion heads.
“They had obviously been in a hutch environment for a little while. There fur was quite matted and needed to be groomed out but they were not in a horrendous state. Their teeth look like they are in a good condition and they are lively and bright eyed.”
She added: “They could make the right people the right pet. It is such a shame that someone thought they would cope by being released into a field like this to fend for themselves.”
The 43-year-old, who is a volunteer for the RSPCA, said that rabbits had been sent to various rescue centres across East Anglia, including eight to Thumpers Rabbit Rescue in Ipswich.
Ms Williams said: “I just want to say thank you to the members of the public who spotted the rabbits in Thurston and contacted the RSPCA and also to Thumpers. Eight rabbits is a lot to take on and we were very relieved when they said they could help.”
For information about rehoming a rabbit, or other rescued animal, visit www.rspcasuffolk.org.uk or phone 01473 623280.