• Last modified 1146 days ago (May 27, 2021)


$1,000 rabbit missing

Valuable breeding doe also a beloved pet

Staff writer

The Holland lop is a priceless family pet, but its value is $1,000, according to a police report filed on its suspected theft.

Devon McGonigal and his family are hoping for the return of a breeding doe they named Sophie that went missing from a hutch she shared with several other rabbits in the 800 block of N. Vine St., Peabody.

McGonigal says the rabbit was secure in an outdoor enclosure and he would like to get to the bottom of its disappearance.

“Just because an animal is outside doesn’t mean it’s neglected or not loved,” he said, adding that his daughter frequently took the rabbit into their house.

“All my animals are part of the family and we were heartbroken when we realized she was missing.”

McGonigal built the lean-to four feet off the ground to foil predators and the hutch was closed and undamaged when Sophie was found missing on Mother’s Day.

Police probably estimated Sophie’s value to their small business — a rabbitry that offers bunnies as pets, he said.

The McGonigals have 11 rabbits, seven does and four bucks in various breeds. In addition to Holland Lops, they keep New Zealands, Netherland Dwarfs, Lionheads, and a Flemish Giant/Continental mix.

He estimates Sophie could have a litter of four to 10 kittens five or six times a year at an expected profit of $100 to $200 a litter.

That’s a ballpark of $1,000 a year, he said. Does are retired after four years.

McGonigal said he started breeding rabbits for food security during COVID-19 shutdowns because his family raised them for meat when he was a child.

“We decided to offer them as pets because we love our rabbits and want others to have the joy in having them like we do,” he said.

Keeping a small colony will give daughters Amber, 2, and 4-month-old, Jasmine, an easy 4-H project if the girls are interested in showing rabbits when they are old enough.

“I think raising small animals like rabbits and chickens is a great experience for kids,” he said. “It teaches patience and discipline.”

In the meantime, the family misses their fun, energetic, pet and hope that Sophie is safe.

“If she is not returning, I hope and pray she has a good home with people who love her like we do,” McGonigal said.

Last modified May 27, 2021