The RSPCA has rescued more than 160 rabbits from one garage amid what it describes as a “rabbit crisis”.
The owners, in Great Easton, Leicestershire, had started with just four rabbits but allowed them to breed out of control.
Animal charities including the RSCPA say they are dealing with a huge influx in abandoned rabbits due to breeding and the cost-of-living crisis.
They advise adopting rabbits rather than buying from breeders or pet shops.
They also urge people to get rabbits neutered so they cannot breed, and so the females don’t get uterine cancer.
RSPCA inspector Richard Durant, who helped rescue the rabbits, said: “This is a very good example of the problems that can be encountered by rabbit owners who fail to neuter their rabbits and then end up becoming totally overwhelmed.
“The owners said they tried separating them, but they weren’t quick enough and the rabbits bred again and again. They told us that the sad situation had all got out of hand.”
The RSPCA was alerted by a pet-sitter when she found a dead rabbit in September.
Mr Durant said most of the rabbits were healthy but their overcrowded environment “clearly wasn’t suitable”.
“The smell in the garage was pretty overpowering and we found the rabbits in basic cages stacked up – some of them contained six rabbits,” he said.
The RSPCA said the number of rabbits dropped to about 150 as some had health issues and several were put to sleep.
Brinsley Animal Rescue in Nottinghamshire said it too had been inundated with unwanted rabbits, and that this had worsened due to the cost-of-living crisis.
The charity turned away 222 rabbits in the first three months of 2023, due to not having enough space and money to care for them.
Jon Beresford, who runs the charity, said there was never a reason to buy a rabbit from a pet shop or breeder.
“People go into garden centers or farm shops or pet shops and the kids see baby rabbits, so it’s often an impulse, and they don’t put any thought into it,” he said.
“People think they are easy pets and you can stick them in a cage, but you can’t.
“Rabbits are the most abused and neglected animals.”