Erie Area Rabbit Society & Rescue Helps Bunnies Find Happy Homes: Community Gem
Hard at work rescuing rabbits. This week's Community Gem takes you inside a local haven dedicated specifically to caring for rabbits.
And yes, rabbits and bunnies are the same. The group EARS is pretty impressive and ready to host the biggest fundraiser of the year on Saturday.
First, here's what the organization does. A 75 year old stuffed animal set the stage for its owner
Ron Stegar who now spends his days caring for real rabbits.
At EARS, the Erie Area Rabbit Society and Rescue. It's operated out of this pink colored building on West 38th Street in Millcreek.
It has grown over the years to now include the building right next door.
"We do not breed bunnies," said Linda Jones. "We rescue them from outside."
Linda Jones is also the co-founder. She and Ron share a love of rabbits, and discovered that in 2012, when they both tried to catch this bunny, named Jukie who was loose at a local car dealership.
"I got out of the car and introduced myself and said, are you looking for the bunny? He said yes, but its not here," said Jones. "I said he's here somewhere I'll just call him. So, I called him 'Jukie' and out he came from underneath the car. He knew me by then."
Linda had spent three weeks looking for Jukie, who is now almost 11 years old.
His rescue was the foundation for what is home to now, dozens of rabbits.
But it was a humble start to EARS in what was a rundown first location on Peach Street in Erie County.
"People were calling us from everywhere to take bunnies," said Jones. "So, it was hard, the beginning was hard."
Along the way, donors, and fundraisers have help build EARS into what is the only rabbit rescue organization in the region.
An EARS medical team helps provide fluids and tend to other health needs of the rabbits on-site.
"If the bunnies illness is more severe, we wind up going to Akron, we go to Cleveland, we've gone to Buffalo," said Stegar. "Rabbits are exotic pets and because of that they need, a lot of times, special care."
And before bunnies are adopted, EARS requires a home visit.
"We want to make sure that a bunny is the right pet for your house," said Stegar.
After all, they are well taken care of with EARS volunteers.
"Now I do more cleaning," said Anna Cook. "I can also exercise, I can also help out with some more community events."
Local college student Anna Cook is one of many volunteers.
The backyard at EARS has a bunny gazebo. It's meant for exercise because at EARS they say that all bunnies need at least one hours of exercise per day. There's even an exercise team full of volunteers that are able to come into the gazebo. It's a weatherized gazebo that is open 24/7.
Part of the expanded footprint to help the four legged furry friends find a family for them.