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Courtesy Photo

A Visit to BUNS

Checking In with Goleta’s Volunteer-Run Bunny Shelter


A bunny named Wendy runs afoot at Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (BUNS), doing laps around what has become, to her, a hay-and-wood-chip-filled racetrack. She taunts

her companions at the Goleta bunny sanctuary, running up to hutches and exercise pens

to sniff her friends, who have names like Hans Bunsolo, Jessica Rabbit, and Miss Cotton.

This would be alarming at some pet shelters, where interactions with dogs or unwelcome prey could be problematic. But it’s normal at BUNS, which has been a nonprofit lifechanger for more than 3,000 rabbits and guinea pigs since 1992. With the help of dozens of volunteers each week, BUNS now manages a home for about 50 bunnies.

Volunteers take in rabbits from South County, spaying and neutering the pets before adoption or foster care. BUNS inspects bunnies, offers monthly handling classes, and hosts a regular Hoppy Hour, where South County residents can bring their bunnies to socialize at the nearby Santa Barbara Humane Society.

The shelter also sells supplies and nail-trimming services at a nominal fee. And, of course, they’re happy to adopt out bunnies to people looking for a new companion.

“They’re gentle and peaceful to be around,” said Jean Silva, who was one of the first-ever BUNS volunteers. “And they’re vastly cute.” According to Silva and fellow volunteer Kimmy Swann, bunnies are the ideal companions for people looking for a quiet but social pet, and one easy to train.

BUNS is part of the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, which also houses Dog Adoption & Welfare Group (DAWG.). Since September, BUNS has adopted out more than three dozen bunnies and guinea pigs.

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Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (BUNS) is located at 5473 Overpass Road. Call (805)

683-0521 or visit bunssb.org.

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