How rehoming works2018-10-28T10:27:19+00:00

Thank you for your interest in rehoming a rabbit from the RSPCA Chesterfield & North Derbyshire Branch.

We want as many people as possible to be able to re-home a rabbit from us – what’s important is matching you and your family with the right rabbit. Below you can find information about what steps to expect during our rehoming process along with lots of other useful information. We hope to see you soon!

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Adoption procedure

We are looking for life-long, permanent homes for our rabbits and we need to be sure you can provide such a home. We also aim to match their needs to a suitable person or family. This means we have to ask questions about your personal circumstances, including your ability to meet routine and emergency vet bills, which will become solely your responsibility following adoption.rabbit

Ideally all members of the household must come to the animal centre before a rabbit can be reserved for you. If this is not possible we at least ask for the primary carer of the rabbit to visit the centre. We also require permission from the property owner where the rabbit will live. We will normally “hold” the rabbit of your choice for 48 hours, this will allow everyone to come along and agree to the new addition.

A home visitor will need to visit you at home before you can adopt a rabbit.

We do not adopt rabbits out for breeding purposes.

Unless we advise otherwise, we are looking for all our rabbits to live in pairs or small groups in their new homes.

We may arrange to do a post adoption visit to see how your new rabbit(s) is settling in.

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Help and support for adopters

Once you’ve adopted your new rescue rabbit, we’ve prepared lots of free online content for you about rabbit welfare and advice.

Remember, we’re still here for advice and support. Please get in touch with the animal centre and we’ll do our best to help with any questions you may have.

 Important information

Please be aware that information relating to the temperament and behaviour of our rabbits has been based on observations of them whilst in our care. Please note that there may be differences in behaviour observed in an animal centre environment compared to in a home environment. Any background information or history from before our rabbits came into our care has been provided by third parties and will be shared by us in good faith. We cannot give any guarantee to the validity of the information provided or how one of our rabbits may behave or react in a new home.

Veterinary responsibilities

Please be aware that after the adoption, you will become legally responsible for obtaining and funding all future veterinary treatment for your new rescue rabbit. This includes treatment for any pre-existing condition(s) and/or any conditions that your new rescue rabbit may have contracted at the animal centre and applies whether or not the symptoms were present or made known to you prior to adoption.

Frequently asked questions about rabbit rehoming

A rabbit on hold means that someone is potentially interested in this particular rabbit, but further action is needed before it can progress to a reserve. Other family members may need to meet the rabbit. It may be that written permission from the property owner where the rabbit will live needs to be obtained, or someone is simply thinking about the rabbit to decide if they would like to proceed any further. We will normally put a rabbit on hold for 48 hours.

Once all the above has been completed a rabbit can then be reserved and the home visit process can start.

No, not at all. Our animal centre is open six days a week (closed Mondays), including weekends and Bank Holidays (but excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day). You are welcome to visit the rabbits at the animal centre at any point during our viewing hours of 11.00am – 4.00pm.

Owning a pet is a wonderful privilege, but with that comes financial and legal responsibilities. We are always very grateful for the offer of loving homes for our rabbits, however your current financial situation could impact on your ability to adopt, or to adopt a particular rabbit considering its welfare needs.  

The RSPCA Chesterfield & North Derbyshire Branch has a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that potential adopters have the ability to meet routine and emergency vet bills along with any other financial commitments that come with owning a rabbit. In some circumstances, such as people currently unemployed, on low income and/or low income benefits, we may need to ask for further information and/or evidence of your ability to fund veterinary costs so we can be sure that you are able to meet your responsibilities in relation to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

We deal with each situation on a case by case basis but if after considering your individual circumstances and the information provided, we have any concerns about your ability to meet the costs of owning a rabbit, then unfortunately we would be unable to proceed with rehoming to you.

 Animal Welfare Act 2006

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice. In short this means positive steps must be taken to ensure owners care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which includes the need to protect an animal from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Further information about what this means in practice can be found in a specific Code of Practice produced by Defra (for England) and by the Welsh Government.


We do not recommend relying on another charity to help finance your existing rabbit’s veterinary treatment and careful consideration should be given to this, as the charity’s service could be reduced or withdrawn at any stage or you could find that you become no longer eligible.

If you plan to use the PDSA to help finance your veterinary fees, we strongly advise that you contact them first or visit their website to check if you are eligible to qualify for PDSA veterinary services and live within a catchment area of a PDSA service. 

Please note that from 1st November 2017 the PDSA has closed its Pet Practice scheme to new registrations. In the Chesterfield area this scheme operated in conjunction with Spire Vets. This veterinary practice is therefore unable to accept any new applicants for PDSA assistance with veterinary fees.

In light of the above, we are unable to adopt to anyone who would be dependent on the PDSA or another charity as the principal source of funding for veterinary treatment and you would therefore need an alternative means of meeting these costs should you wish to rehome a rabbit from our animal centre.


We would always recommend that pet owners consider taking out pet insurance. This will help you to cope financially with any unexpected bills. However, it is important to be aware that insurance will not cover preventative treatments such as vaccinations or flea and worm treatment and nor will it cover any pre-existing conditions that your rabbit has prior to the commencement of the insurance cover. You would therefore need to have sufficient funds to meet these costs and would also need to take account of the relevant excess (this is the amount of each claim the policyholder must pay) that applies to the insurance policy.

As long as you are permanently resident in the UK and you are able to visit the animal centre as many times as necessary to complete the rehoming process, you are welcome to rehome from our animal centre.

It is worth calling the animal centre in advance to ask for more details about any specific rabbits you are interested in before making any lengthy journey.

Rabbits cannot be reserved without meeting you as this is a key part of rehoming process. To get started, please visit the animal centre to complete a rabbit rehoming application form and find out more about the rabbits available. If this involves a lengthy trip or you are interested in a particular rabbit, you are welcome to call ahead to enquire further about them.

We will reserve a rabbit until rehoming is complete, however, it is generally not possible to reserve or place a rabbit on hold for an extended period of time, such as until you return from holiday or move house. This could prevent the rabbit from finding another suitable home and restricting us from taking in another rabbit needing our help.

Every adoption is treated as an individual case, so while the process normally takes about a week, it can be shorter or longer depending on a number of factors, and this typical timeframe should not be taken as a guarantee.

The animal centre team will do their best to find a rabbit whose needs suit your circumstances from the start, many people find a match on the first visit and are able to take home the rabbit soon afterwards (following a home visit).

Some might need to visit the animal centre on more than one occasion to find a suitable rabbit, and occasionally rabbits might need to get to know their new owners more gradually over several visits.

If you know there is a big event (moving house, going on holiday, a new baby) coming up soon, it’s best to start the process after everything has settled down, so that whenever you find your new rabbit, you’re ready for them.

Yes. If you live in private rented accommodation then you will need to provide the animal centre with written permission from your landlord stating that rabbits are allowed to live at the property.

We do not require written permission for council or housing association properties.

We aim to publish new animals on our website twice weekly and update hold and reserve information daily.

However, please be aware that our rehoming pages may not represent all the animals we have staying with us and during busy periods information may not be 100% up-to-date.

Please feel free to contact the animal centre for the very latest information.