AN investigation is under way to trace the “cruel” owners of a pet rabbit who was found abandoned in a horrific condition at the side of a road.
A member of the public spotted the pet, who was covered in mites, in East Lothian and took him home before calling the Scottish SPCA for help.
The male crossbreed, who has been named Romeo, was suffering from a severe case of ear mites, which had spread to his eyes, face and legs.
He was rushed to Lamond Veterinary Clinic in Livingston for treatment and is now in the care of the Scottish SPCA’s Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Balerno.
Animal rescue officer Mairi Stewart said: “Poor Romeo was in a terrible state and there is no doubt he would have been in pain and distress for some time before he was dumped.
“Ear mites are very simply treated and whoever owned Romeo has allowed his condition to develop to a severe stage where it would have been obvious that he was in need of urgent veterinary treatment.
“The person responsible for dumping him has been particularly cruel by leaving him in such a vulnerable position. He had no shelter and was left beside a busy road in the freezing cold.
“Despite his ordeal, Romeo has a very friendly nature and it’s likely he has been a pet. We’re appealing to the public for information as we really need to find the person responsible for this cruel act.”
Miss Stewart said she had never seen a rabbit with as severe a case of ear mites before, and believes Romeo, whose ears were swollen with infection, may have had them for several months.
“He would’ve been in a lot of pain and really itchy,” she said.
“I’m sure he is much more comfortable now and I’m hoping we will get him a good home. He is one of the nicest rabbits I have ever met so I would imagine we will get him a nice home no problem at all.”
She added: “The name Romeo just came to me. I think it’s his wee personality, he was so friendly and so charming even though he looked a bit of a mess.”
The animal welfare charity is urging anyone with information relating to Romeo, who was found at the side of the B6414 Elphinstone Road, to call 03000-999 999.