Rabbits that survived Cal Heights alley fire begin long recovery

The three rabbits who survived a fire in California Heights that killed seven other rabbits—two adults and five newborns—along with three parakeets and four button quails are now receiving medical care and therapy at the Bunny Bunch Rabbit Rescue location in Fountain Valley.

The cause of the fire, which broke out in an alley on the 3800 block of Gaviota Avenue on April 18, appeared suspicious and remains under investigation, according to Jake Heflin, spokesman for the Long Beach Fire Department.

An animal control officer rushed the rabbits, two males and a female, to Long Beach Animal Emergency where they received intensive care. When they’d sufficiently recovered, they went to Long Beach Animal Care Services.

“They were in and out of the shelter on Saturday,” said Daniel Marolda, volunteer supervisor for the shelter’s Bunny Barn. “The owners signed them over to us, and the Bunny Bunch will adopt them out when they’re ready.”

That won’t be anytime soon. The little survivors are slowly improving, but it will be a while before they’re well enough for adoption. The two males have first-degree burns and the female has second-degree burns. She may lose her ears.

Fire Bunny Victims- Update.Thank you everyone for your messages and donations♥️

Posted by Bunny Bunch Rabbit Rescue on Monday, April 22, 2019

“We got them on Saturday, and they were still in shock,” said Caroline Charland, Bunny Bunch’s founder. “By Sunday evening, we saw improvement. They’re all on heavy medication, including pain meds and antibiotics. I continually put cream on the burns and give them subcutaneous fluids, eye drops and supplementary food.”

The rabbits are presently staying at Charland’s home. When they’re stable, they’ll go to the Bunny Bunch rescue facility. They’ll be spayed or neutered and will be available for adoption. At present, spaying and neutering the rabbits is out of the question, and to complicate matters, the female may be pregnant.

Three rabbits suffering burns--one brown, one brown and white, and one black. They're in an enclosure on a pink blanket decorated with hearts.

Charland has named the rabbits Braveheart, a male black lop-ear; Kwan, a male brown-and-white lop-ear; and Amor, the female, who Charland thinks is a Lionhead. “She’s too badly burned to tell,” Charland said. Photo courtesy of Bunny Bunch Rabbit Rescue.

The trio has run up considerable veterinary bills; Charland won’t be surprised if they top a thousand dollars. The public can make donations here.

“They’ll have a long recovery, but I do believe they’re going to make it,” Charland said.

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Kate Karp is the Pets Columnist for the Long Beach Post covering the world of animal activism, pet adoptions and lots of cute cats. She’s called Long Beach home since 1994 and has written for the Post for about 10 years. Kate’s day job is as a copyeditor, which she discovered a love for during her 30-year tenure as a teacher. She describes the job as “like taking the rough edges off a beautiful sculpture.”