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In April of 2002, PetSave Foundation was asked to assist the spcaLA in the rescue and care of approximately 350 rabbits confiscated from an "animal hoarder" in Mar Vista. The large number was a direct result of Mar Vista resident Linda Latshaw's failure to spay and neuter the rabbits she had taken in. Consequently, many rabbits were pregnant and an additional 160+ rabbits were born after the rescue. The neglect they had endured was shocking, with many rabbits sick or critically wounded from a lack of food, water, medicine, and shelter from predators. In light of the overwhelming evidence against her, Ms. Latshaw plead guilty to misdemeanor animal neglect and was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and a $10,000 fine.

In late July 2002, PetSave Foundation assumed total responsibility for the care and adoption of the Mar Vista rabbits, an incredible undertaking for a small, newly formed non-profit organization. A year and a half later, all of the bunnies are healthy and have been spayed and neutered. Best of all, we have succeeded in finding adoptive homes for about 300 of these bunnies to date.

One of those bunnies rescued is Buster. This is his story.

BusterHe's a stubby little brown guy with chunky feet and a lot of attitude, or 'rabbitude' to those of us who know rabbits well. He's Buster, and he's one of our favorite shelter bunnies.

Buster was considered to be important evidence in the abuse case. He had sustained serious damage to his eyes from fighting, something he was forced to do under the conditions in which he lived. He has limited sight, and is covered with scars. Because of his loss of vision, this little ball of muscle and fear would strike out at anything he sensed coming near. Filling his food dish or water bowl was a daunting task for all but the most experienced bunny handlers.

For a long time he was known as "Angry Man," but a few brave volunteers began spending time with Buster, to try to get him used to being touched. After many months, they were rewarded with an occasional breakthrough, when Buster would actually let someone hold him.

We felt that the "Angry Man" title was a negative prophecy to burden this little guy with, so a volunteer renamed him "Buster". Buster was soon moved out of a cage and into his own pen. With room to run, and a prominent spot in the shelter, Buster began to mellow. He became a favorite of the regular volunteers and visitors. With all the attention, Buster began to respond to his name, and to seek attention. Volunteers brought him gifts - toys, treats, soft towels - anything to bring him a little joy, but still he did not want to be touched. He would buck and growl and grunt his displeasure. You could put your hand near him if a treat was being offered, but he would then grab the treat and run to the back of the pen to devour it.

Because Buster was evidence in the abuse case, he could not be neutered until the case was settled. When the case finally settled, we wasted no time in scheduling his surgery. This surgery is the first step toward adoption for a rescued bunny.

It eventually became clear that Buster either had more sight than we thought, or had a keen sense of direction, because during playtime he could always find his way through the shelter rooms to the pen with the most girl bunnies. There he would lounge for hours, flirting with abandon. We decided that the next step to happiness for Buster was marriage.

BusterAlthough a lot of the very young girl-bunnies liked to flirt with Buster (and vice versa!), we chose Olivia, a strong, mature bunny, to be his bride. Olivia is a beautiful, shy black bunny who loves and nurtures Buster, and is content to be in his shadow. Not surprisingly, Olivia's kindness has made Buster feel more secure, and less aggressive. Marriage has also made him a little more domesticated, which means he now uses his litter box like a little gentleman!

We have seen Buster flourish, his coat get plusher and prettier, and his attitude settle just a little. Buster's new outlook on life is proof of the power of compassion, and his change in attitude because of Olivia is proof, lest we forget, of the power of love.

PetSave Foundation
14009 Crenshaw Boulevard #C
Hawthorne, CA 90250

Tel: 310-349-0310