Konijnenhof (“rabbit garden”) is a rescue organization focused on re-homing rabbits and other rodents, and was founded by the Belgian mother daughter team of Sabine Verbist and Yentl Vinck. They take in unwanted and found rabbits, provide them with shelter, observe them in order to get a clear view of their character, and then try to find them the perfect new owner.
Read more about this remarkable duo, that’s passionate about animal welfare, and bunnies in particular…
Can you introduce yourselves?
I am Yentl Vinck and I love animals. I studied art (drawing), but my biggest hobby is doing work for Konijnenhof (“rabbit garden”). My biggest example is my aunt: since several years, she runs the animal rescue Arca Noah in Spain. Apparently it’s in our blood to help of animals in need, and to make sure they receive the care they need. I started a rescue for rodents: Konijnenhof. Since childhood, I spend time with rabbits, so I have a lot of experience with them. Sometimes you see domesticated bunnies on the street, or in a field. People drop them there, because they think the rabbits can surive in the wild, but this isn’t true: they belong in a safe enclosure, protected from the elements. They have the right to get the right kind of feed. It’s wrong to just abandon an animal like that. This is why I started my organization, as a volunteer. Since I want to continue working with animals in the future, I will start a course in animal studies.
I am Sabine Verbist, Yentl’s mother. I work part-time in an institution for people with a mental handicap. In my free time I help my daughter Yentl in “Konijnenhof”. I admire her passion for animals and animal rescue. Together with our family, we help her, and we take care of all the rabbits and other rodents in our shelter.
What does Konijnenhof do?
Konijnenhof is a shelter for rabbits and other rodents. We provide temporary shelter to the rabbits: we take in animals that were found or need to be re-homed, and find them good new owners. Every animal deserves a good home and adequate care. In order to cover the costs for (veterinary) care for the rabbits, we ask the new owners to pay 20 euros per animal they adopt. Some animals can’t be re-homed because they’re ill, need special treatment, or because of their character. They stay with us, but can be sponsored by “foster parents”.
Where do the rabbits in your shelter come from?
People bring in animals they can no longer care for. Sometimes we take over animals from other shelters that are full.
How many animals are staying at your shelter?
We have about 30-35 rodents in our shelter.
What do people have to do in order to adopt an animal from Konijnenhof?
Our shelter is on pets.be and Kapaza. People can email us or give us a phone call. We ask them about their experience with rabbits, discuss the housing of the animals (inside or outside).
When you visit our shelter, Yentl asks a couple of basic questions, in order to determine the perfect match between owner and rabbit. It’s important to choose your rabbit not based on their looks, but on their character. Yentl observes the rabbits daily, and so knows all of them really well.
In animal shops, the approach is much different. There, people choose a pet based only on looks (or on the breed of the rabbit), and the result often is that the animals get dumped later on.
When you adopt an animal from our shelter, you sign an adoption contract.
Why adopt a rabbit and not buy one?
In a shop people often impulsively buy a beautiful or cute, fluffy bunny, forgetting that the animal needs care, good housing, and other rabbits around him in order to be happy.
Do you have any adopted animals yourself?
Yes, a dog from Spain. He’s very sweet and affectionate. He’s a mixed breed, and healthy as can be (much healthier than many purebred dogs.)
How old can rabbits become?
Rabbits can live up to 6-8 years old, sometimes even older than that. We had one that lived up to eleven years!
How can people support Konijnenhof?
They can buy items we sell, share our information on Facebook, donate feed or money (BE78 3770 5238 4986 ING Konijnenhof), or sponsor a rabbit.
In the future, we would like to organize sales where we sell stuff that people no longer want, and use the profits to invest in our shelter.
Photos in this post were provided to me by Konijnenhof.