A mum visiting the Doncaster branch of Pets at Home found a dead rabbit in an enclosure while walking around the store, she said it had “obviously got trapped down the side of the hide and couldn’t get out” adding “it must have been panicking and died in sheer terror”.
The woman had originally visited the store to purchase some books when she spotted the legs of a rabbit sticking out of a hide.
The mum, who does not wish to be named said: “My daughter was looking at the rodents and rabbits section and I was with her. I saw the legs of a rabbit sticking out from behind a hide.
“My son got one of the sales assistants who said the rabbit was probably just hiding down there. He went into the enclosure and removed the hide to find the rabbit dead. It had obviously got trapped down the side of the hide and couldn’t get out.
“It must have been panicking and died in sheer terror. It was an awful sight to see and I removed my children rapidly away, thank god my daughter didn’t see it she would have been mortified.”
A Pets at Home spokesperson said: “We are aware of the very sad incident that took place at our Doncaster store yesterday involving one of our rabbits.
“We check our pets regularly throughout the day to ensure they are safe and well. We hold feeding time at 4pm and we can confirm that the rabbit was fine at that point.
“Sometime after that the little rabbit managed to get herself stuck behind the wooden house, which we provide to give them a safe place to hide if they so choose. Very sadly she died shortly afterwards and was found about 5pm by a customer. The cause of death is currently unknown, but she will not have suffocated, as there was sufficient air all around her.
“We use these hides in over 440 stores nationwide and have never had an incident like this happen before. We are investigating, but we believe this was a tragic accident. We are very sorry for any distress caused to our customers and their children. The care of the pets in our stores is always, and will continue to be, our number one priority.”