Award nomination for rabbit who survived brutal attack

A rabbit who survived a savage dog attack has been shortlisted for an award which recognises lucky pets who beat the odds.

Five-year-old Hans was found with a horrific head injury in Richmond, North Yorkshire. With no sign of his owners, the bunny was close to death and underwent an emergency operation.

His quick recovery astounded vets from the Abbey House practice in Leeds, and Hans was nominated in the Pet Survivor Awards by Bunny Burrows charity owner Gwen Butler, who has adopted him.

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He is now one of six finalists in the competition, run by PDSA Petsurance, which recognises animals’ incredible survival spirit. The winner is decided by a public vote.

“A local vet called us asking if we could take in an abandoned rabbit. He was really underweight, his teeth were in an awful state and this old wound on his head was horribly infected,” said Gwen.

“I took him to my preferred vet in Leeds who I know is great with rabbits. Hans’s head injury was so bad the vet was unsure if she would be able to save him at first. But I never give up on pets, however small. I knew that surviving an attack like Hans did was a miracle in itself, so I was willing to do whatever it took to give him a chance.”

The lucky rabbit was treated by vet Trudi Pardoe.

“Hans’s head wound was so severe, and he was in such poor condition, that euthanasia was a serious consideration. There was extensive skin loss around the wound and I wasn’t certain we would even be able to save his ear. But he had already survived against the odds, so we agreed to progress with treatment and see how he responded.”

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Trudi was able to save Hans’s ear and gradually, with plenty of care and attention, the wound healed, his overall condition improved and his teeth were also treated. During his recovery Gwen fell in love with Hans’s unique character and decided to adopt him as her own house rabbit.

“I’d named him Hans, after the fairytale author, as he was something of an ugly duckling when we first rescued him, but I hoped that he would eventually turn into a beautiful swan. And he has – my handsome Hans survived against all the odds!” she said.

Trudi added:

“I have worked with rabbits for 15 years and have rarely encountered such a character as Hans – he has a remarkably calm demeanour, so friendly and trusting of all who cared for him. His indomitable spirit is an inspiration and I’m delighted that he’s being recognised in PDSA’s Pet Survivor Awards.”

To vote for Hans, visit

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