Who are we?
Hopper Haven is an animal welfare charity specialising in rabbits and guinea pigs. We provide a safe haven for the animals in our care to live out their lives. We do not rehome. These two species are routinely poorly treated in our society. Rabbits are the most neglected animals in the UK (according to the RSPCA). The common usage of the term guinea pig says it all for them. Both species are too easily available for purchase, being on display in pet shops where pester power often means that they are bought without proper forethought. The housing sold by these same petshops mean that the animals live lives of misery in cramped conditions developing painful health conditions through lack of exercise. Both species can also breed at an alarming rate, and accidental litters are all too common particularly as pet shops are notoriously bad at sexing rabbits. The desparate straits these animals end up in mean that there is a huge need for places of safety for them, both sanctuaries and rehoming rescues. Hopper Haven used to try to fulfill both functions but due to the huge workload have had to decide to concentrate on just the sanctuary side of things. We will however continue to provide help to any of the animals we rehomed in the past including taking them back if their new home can not continue to provide for them for any reason. From now on, apart from animals who have been here before, we will aim to take in animals that are in need of a sanctuary place by reason of age, health issues or temperament.
At Hopper Haven we aim to provide the best quality of life possible to our residents. This means they're get the largest possible accomodation, the companionship of their own species, an appropriate healthy diet, and prompt and appropriate health care. Animals will only be put to sleep if their quality of life has deteriorated to the point that that is the only humane thing to do.
Hopper Haven has accomodation for 40 groups of rabbits, and 6 groups of guinea pigs.
For rabbits this comprises 10 sheds with attached runs, 3 stables in the barn, 2 aviarys with constant access to their runs, and 28 large hutches in their own enclosures. We also have 4 8ft by 2ft bonding or boarding cages for rabbits. The variety of accomodation we have means that as an animal's needs change so can their environment. For instance animals which need extra attention for any reason can be moved into the barn for closer observation without having to be put into a hospital cage and so can still have plenty of room to move around and can keep thier companions with them instead of the group having to be separated. Our groups of rabbits vary from 1 to 4 members at present, although at one point we had a group of 12! Rabbits are only kept alone on temporary basis whilst awaiting bonding to a suitable companion, on arrival or after the loss of previous partner.
We can only manage a smaller number of groups of guinea pigs as they need to be brought into the barn for the winter. All of our guinea pigs live in either little villages or in hutches that are at least 8ft by 2ft, giving them plenty of room to move about. They are surprisingly active creatures, but all too frequently are given no room to move at all. Our groups of guinea pigs range from 2 to 12 members. Unlike rabbits there can only ever be one male per group (except in a male pair) which limits the number of males we can accomodate to 8 at the moment as we have only two male pairs. The few extra males we have are being fostered by volunteers as we don't have room for them here.
All rabbits and male guinea pigs arriving at Hopper Haven are neutered as long as their health allows it. Neutering not only prevents pregnancy, it also has health benefits for both species, and reduces hormonal behaviour, which in rabbits can cause behavioural problems.
Hopper Haven gets no official funding and relies entirely on individual donations in order to carry on. If you are able, please make a contribution to enable us to continue our work. Resident animals are available for sponsorship and can be visited weekly on Saturday afternoons. This can convieniently be done by standing order.
Hopper Haven is run entirely by volunteers
We regret that for the past couple of years we have been unable to open to the general public due to a shortage of volunteers. Please note that sponsors or those interested in sponsoring are still welcome to visit on Saturday afternoons all year round.(Please enter through the gate by the conservatory).