More than 20 pet rabbits are thought to have been dumped in a field in Thurston at the weekend.
A member of the public contacted the RSPCA on Saturday seeking help for the rabbits she had managed to rescue from a field next to Thurston Rugby Club.
Deb Williams, the West Suffolk RSPCA’s re-homing officer for rabbits, was called to help catch, sex and home the frightened animals.
She said: “It was a massive shock to find that many rabbits just being dumped in a field. I’ve never seen anything on that scale before.”
Some were just six weeks old while at least two others were pregnant. They had no food or water and, in some cases, were found among a large pile of rubbish.
“It was a very cruel thing to do - it just shows a real lack of compassion,” said Mrs Williams.
She added: “It’s illegal to dump pet rabbits in the wild. It shouldn’t happen. I’m sure someone was desperate but they should have spoken to us first.”
Fourteen rabbits were caught at the weekend and another rescue attempt has been scheduled for later today.
Mrs Williams said: “It’s hard to catch a rabbit in an open space, especially a frightened one, but the ones I was most worried about were the pregnant ones - they don’t usually have babies this time of year so they are very vulnerable.”
She added: “People don’t realise what they’re taking on when they get rabbits. Perhaps they get a pair thinking they’re two boys or two girls but the females can get pregnant the day their litter’s born so you can end up with 50 rabbits quite quickly. If you don’t have the space to separate them, things can really spiral.
“Perhaps in the economic downturn people are finding it hard to look after rabbits - they’re not a cheap pet. In some cases it’s far more sensible to come through a rescue and know what you’re getting.”
In Suffolk, there are currently 60 rabbits waiting to be taken in by rescue centres, with a further 40,000 already placed in centres around the country waiting to be re-homed.
For help and advice, visit www.rspcasuffolk.org.uk or search Thumpers Rabbit Rescue Centre on Facebook.