Battersea hops to the rescue to reunite lost rabbit with her owners

16 MAY 2017

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home takes in hundreds of dogs and cats each year, but staff were taken aback when an unusually long-eared arrival came through their doors.

The Mini Lop rabbit arrived at Battersea’s London centre on Monday May 1, after a kind member of the public found her on the roadside not far from the shelter.

Battersea didn’t have a hutch to hand, but luckily member of staff Amy Baird did. Amy, who works as a lost and found assistant at Battersea, offered to give the rabbit a home- naming her Lotus.

Word of the strange arrival quickly spread throughout Battersea. A few days later another member of staff was walking through Battersea Park and spotted a poster, written in child’s handwriting, with the headline ‘have you seen this rabbit?’

It didn’t take long for Battersea to connect the dots, and a phone call and email exchange quickly revealed that the rabbit belonged to 7-year-old Athena Lowes. Athena’s mum, Tanja Gullestrup-Lowes, said the rabbit- whose real name is Pearl - had managed to find a small hole in the fence and escaped while they were cleaning her hutch. 

Tanja said: “When I broke the news to Athena she burst into floods of tears. She thought Pearl would get hit by a car. We searched the whole neighbourhood for Pearl and put up posters hoping someone would find her.

“She was missing for five days and every day when Athena came back from school, she would ask if anyone had found her. When Battersea called, she was so relieved and happy to hear Pearl was safe!”

On Sunday May 7 Tanja drove down to Battersea’s Brands Hatch centre in Kent, where Amy was working, to pick up the escape-artist bunny.

Pearl and Athena have now been happily reunited, and the hole in the fence has been found and firmly sealed.

Battersea’s Amy Baird said: “It was sad to have to give up Pearl, she’s such a lovely rabbit and I’d really fallen for her. But it’s great that she’s been reunited with her family and that it’s made Athena so happy. We see a lot of reunites at Battersea, but they’re all dogs and cats- so this was a bit different!”

Battersea’s Centre Manager Robert Young added: “So far this year, we’ve helped to reunite 461 dogs, 307 cats and one rabbit with their owners. While I don’t think we’ll be changing our name to Battersea Dogs, Cats & Rabbits Home any time soon, it’s lovely that this bunny tale had a happy ending.

“On a more serious note, if people do have animals other than dogs and cats they need to rehome, we’d ask them to take them to a specialist charity or a wildlife centre.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the facilities to keep them here at Battersea - and we might not always have a staff member with a spare hutch!”

Although the majority of people know Battersea only takes dogs and cats, Pearl is not the only strange animal to come through the charity’s doors…


Battersea’s unusual animal residents

Charles the Chinchilla

This chinchilla was brought into Battersea’s Old Windsor centre after he was found by students roaming the grounds of the local Royal Holloway University last year. Battersea handed Charles over to a local wildlife charity, and they now use him as a special furry guest in their educational talks.

Oh deer….

Another exotic animal to come into Battersea Old Windsor was a baby Muntjac deer, named Battersea Bob, who was brought into the shelter by a member of the public about five years ago. Bob was also taken to a wildlife centre, which released him into the wild six months later. 

April the Lion

On 1 April 2015, Battersea made headlines around the world for housing a lion named April in their London cattery. This was, of course, an April Fool’s joke- but that didn’t stop Battersea from getting dozens of enquiries!



You can download photos of Battersea's unusual animal residents here.

For more information and images please contact 020 7627 9333 or email

Notes to editors 

  • So far this year Battersea has helped to reunite 461 dogs, 306 cats and one rabbit with their owners. This figure includes both onsite reunites and animals reunited offsite through Battersea’s Lost Dogs & Cats line. Find out more about or Lost Dogs & Cats line at: 
  • Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. We are champions for, and supporters of, vulnerable dogs and cats, determined to create lasting changes for animals in our society. 
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • In 2016 the Home cared for over 7000 dogs and cats.
  • Battersea cares for an average of 270 dogs and 200 cats across its three centres at any one time.
  • There is no time limit on how long an animal can stay at the charity but the average stay for a dog is 35 days and 22 days for a cat.
  • In 2016 26% of dogs and 32% of cats arrived as strays.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, the Home also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home rehomes dogs and cats all over the UK.
  • Battersea Dogs & Cats Home receives no central government funding towards the care of its dogs and cats and relies on the generosity and support of the public to help care for lost and abandoned dogs & cats. To make a donation visit our website or call 0207 627 7883.
  • For further information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home please visit
  • Follow Battersea on Twitter @BDCH or