It was not such a happy Easter for 17 rabbits, including some babies, who were dumped in a dyke in Outwell over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Members of the public who spotted the animals, many of which had managed to break free of their filthy hutches, spent several hours trying to round them up.
Twelve of the pets were caught but three evaded capture and are still on the run, two rabbits died in what the animal charity RSPCA described as a “heartbreaking” incident on East Monday, at a time when people “usually celebrate the Easter bunny, not treat then in such a callous way”.
People who helped round up the rabbits took them home and cared for them before RSPCA officers arrived to take them to their Peterborough branch.
Four of the rabbits were very young babies - between a week and 10 days old, but were not related to any of the adult females and they have now been fostered until they are ready to be rehomed.
RSPCA officer Kathy Hornig said the rabbits had not been well-cared for before being “thrown down a dyke”.
She said there was an “overpowering smell” from their cages and two of the rabbits’ teeth had been allowed to grow too long.
She appealed for anyone who “knows of someone who had such a large number of rabbits - and now they don’t”, to contact the charity.
She praised the kindhearted passers-by who stopped to help the abandoned pets and added: “Once again, kind-hearted people are being left to pick up the pieces because of other people’s heartless actions”.
Contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234999 if you have any information about this incident, or any other animal that is being mistreated.