Denied Help

Notice to all Rabbit Rescues, it is our Opinion that the following family should not be provided rabbits for adoption or foster.

Rabbits In Need was called by Julie Stephens to take back a rabbit that was previously adopted to her, she also asked for help to re-home her other rabbits.   In this process Momo was found sick and was to be taken care of before the other rabbits were re-homed.

RIN helped Julie Stephens receive medical care for her rabbit Momo who was diagnosed with Pneumonia & a possible tumor or abscess. For several days we provided Veterinary Care for Momo hoping to help save her life. Medical treatments of meds/fluids for Pneumonia and Gi Stasis were given by her owner at home with 24/7 feedings and daily monitoring with us by phone/facebook during this time.

Momo was showing signs of improvement and we were also in the process of finding foster homes for her other rabbits when she and her husband blocked all communication with us and made the decision to dump Momo with animal control, along with 5 more rabbits the following day on 6/19/2013.

Later that day we located her at the Animal Welfare League where she was taken by Animal Control, with no meds, fluids or critical care.
It was a Miracle that we found her and that she was still OK after so long without all her treatment. 

The shelter took good care of her until she could be picked up the following morning and taken to a VeterinaryHospital where she stayed for 2 days and then transported again to her foster home 3 hours away. Momo was being treated 24/7 the following week and was scheduled to see the Specialist when she started having difficulty breathing. She was rushed to Vet where she was Incubated, hospitalized and re-evaluated but she was no longer able breathe on her own outside of the Incubator and the decision was made to let her go.  Upon Necropsy we were shocked to hear that Momo was found with advanced heart disease, lung and liver disease. 

Rabbits In Need left our phone numbers with Animal Control and the Animal Welfare League on the same morning the other rabbits were dumped stating we would pick them up and foster them, however we were not called by either AC or AWL as requested when the other 5 were taken in. 

The AC report states a BCS of 5/9 for the 5 rabbits which is considered Ideal, however two of the Rabbits were put down the same day they arrived at the AWL. 

AWL would not release the rabbit I adopted to Julie (Mr. Peabody) stating we lost rights to him and one of the volunteers was adopting him.  Two of the rabbits are up for adoption and we have not been able to pick them up due to the foster person having a family emergency.

Please see the following AC Report for details (the following  documents are Public Information)





Please see Amendment Request to AC from Linda below:


Attention Lieutenant Jones,

Sorry for the delay in writing. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me on 7/9/13 regarding case # 13-23769. I would like to ask that the following conversations between myself and your staff that were not mentioned on the Incident Report be printed and attached to it for public record.

1. I spoke with you on 6/19/2013 searching for a rabbit named Momo that was dumped by owners Julie and Pete Stephens when under Veterinary care with Rabbits In Need Inc. I expressed my concern for the sick rabbit being treated for pneumonia, noting that we would like to pick her up. I also expressed my concern for the other rabbits in the Stephens home at that time.

2. I called your office a few times on 6/20/2013 in great concern for the other rabbits. I left you messages requesting a call back as well as to please be called if you received the other 6 rabbits because we were in the middle of re-homing them, one of the rabbits I personally adopted to Julie and was going to foster him .

3. I also spoke with Ashley on 6/20 and would like to note that I do not consider my demeanor as “Irate” as your report stated but was most certainly very concerned for the safety of all the rabbits involved. I also left my number with her and asked her to please be called if the other rabbits came in so that we could pick them up at the AWL ASAP. I did not receive any call backs.

4. I continued to call in many times through the week however no help was offered to locate the other rabbits. I spoke with Ashley again on the 6/24 explaining to her that Momo was seen by a Vet and found with a probable cigarette burn on her head, I noted I also called the Animal Welfare League daily and was told no rabbits were brought in. At this point, I was extremely concerned that Pete Stephens had harmed the rabbits and may have possibly killed them, however I did not state that he “must” have killed them (as written in your report), and at that time I was prepared to file a complaint to find the rabbits.

I finally spoke with Officer Moore and expressed my concerns about finding the other rabbits as Momo was found with a probable cigarette burn on her head. She assured me that she had been working in the field many years and knows the difference from a healthy or abused animal and that all 5 rabbits were in good condition but had long toenails, one needed groomed and one was aggressive. None of this was mentioned in the report excluding the rabbits being given a BCS of 5/9 (which is considered ideal).
Officer Moore also stated AC was a bit concerned that so many rabbits were given up at one time.

5. Rabbits In Need was in the process of re-homing all the rabbits at the Stephens home when Momo was found Sick so he was being taken care of first by us, the rest I was told would be safe until they could be moved. I was informed the rabbits were all healthy with one needing neutered (spraying) and one needing special Oxbow food for the gut to keep from having diarrhea. I was asked about a rabbit that could be urinating blood, however upon discussion it was found that this rabbit was simply urinating orange at times, not red, and this is Normal for rabbits.

6. I would like to note that the email referenced in your report from the Collingswood Animal Hospital had the following typo in it and a correction has been sent to them with an update on Momo:

“When reviewing the notes of this case I have found a typo (mistake) below. Please note that the word “not” is a mistake and there was indeed a concern for all the rabbits.
Not sure I can do anything more but there are 6 rabbits at this house that I am “not” worried about”.

7. In conclusion,

I have known Julie Stephens for quite some time and adopted a rabbit to her. She had contacted me on June 11, 2013 stating her family was having financial issues and she needed to give back the bunny I adopted to her as well as find homes for some of other rabbits in her care, which ended up being all of them. In the process of finding foster homes, Momo was found sick. I spoke with Julie daily online/telephone while helping care for Momo. She was concerned because she had a trip planned to visit her mother on June 20th and could not cancel it and we were having a hard time finding someone to care for Momo 24/7 while she was gone. The night of the 19th she was releived to inform me that her husband would be caring for Momo while she was gone.

Julie was upset having to re-home the animals she deeply loved for many years, and at times she cried however, I spoke with her the morning of June 19th and she was well at that time and expected to call me around noon to make a work sheet for her husband to follow, instead I was shocked to receive a troubling email from him, which I will attach below. I am also attaching a reference from Julie about her trip.

I would like to note that in my Opinion and according to Julie Stephens, the statements made by Pete Stephens recorded in your Incident Report are not truth. Julie went to NC to visit her mother; and in fact posted a new photo on Facebook when she returned home dated July 8, 2013. The rabbits in her home were taken in by Julie and not dumped on them and Julie at one time was a volunteer at Little Miracles Rabbit Rescue. None of the rabbits were sick except Momo, none had cancer, nor were any seen by a Vet to determine sickness except Momo. The rabbit considered to have gut issues was fine if eating Oxbow rabbit food and was going to be Vet checked by RIN when in foster care. There were no Aggressive rabbits reported by Julie, in fact the opposite was stated and I have never spoken to Pete Stevens. The statement by Julie Stephens was not accurate, RIN was paying the Vet bills and Momo was improving. The names of the rabbits taken from Pete Stevens in the AC report are not consistent with the real names given to me of the rabbits, outside of Momo who was given up by Julie Stephens. The rabbit listed as Rocket was named Moo, Floppy was Mr. Peabody, Myra was Oreo and Lenny was Braxxis.

Regards, Linda Malie

June 17, 10:25pm
Julie Hooks Stephens
I would never have agreed to go see my parents had i known this was going to happen. Mom already paid alot for my ticket and other expensives so i could go there for my sisters 40th birthday and also i havent been home in about 13 years so its all insane how the timing is….If not about Momo to stay with you then ill do my best to try to work something out i dont know right now what.

Julie Hooks Stephens
still its a mess and i feel responsible and i hate to leave her…….its really upsetting but im in a bad suitation and after 13 years and they paid all that money im like WHY NOW??? your awesome love you!

June 18
Julie Hooks Stephens
Linda my husband has promised to take good care of Momo

Linda Sue
Really, why don’t you call me?
I was going to call a couple vets I know tom. and see if we can board seeing she is so sick, tom said we can ask to have someone come feed at night and pay a little more.

Julie Hooks Stephens
Hubby insists he wants to hep because its important to me

Julie Hooks Stephens
he is taking some time off he has days saved he decided to do this because it was important to me

Julie Hooks Stephens
he said since i was crying he realized this is very important to me

June 19
Julie Hooks Stephens
Dear Linda,

This is Pete Stephens, Julie’s husband. As of right now, I am taking charge of this situation with Momo. Julie has serious mental issues and this situation with Momo has led to a very quick decline in her mental health. She just left her therapist and Julie is not doing well at all.

I appreciate all your efforts in helping to save Momo. I will handle the situation from here. Also, she will not be in contact with you again. We would appreciate you respecting our privacy by not attempting to contact us further. I know you have the best of intentions, but Julie’s mental health is my primary concern. I am her protector and I have been for 20 years. She will always come first with me.

I have changed her phone number and I will be deleting you from her Facebook account. There is no need for further discussion on the matter.

Pete Stephens




RIN was not called to pick up these rabbits, they were all dumped with Animal Control by Julie and her husband Pete and the medicines were not sent with Momo who was in critical condition.   AWL refused to give RIN Mr. Peabody the rabbit we adopted to Julie and it was said a worker at the shelter took him home.   It was also said that the remaining two rabbits were  adopted out-
Momo was found at the Vet check to have a lesion on the head that appeared to be a possible cigarette burn


Braxxis: Allegedly Euthanized at AWL the same day the rabbits were brought in (late afternoon).
According to Julie Braxxis got diarrhea if not eating special Oxbow rabbit food.


Oreo: Allegedly Euthanized at AWL the same day the rabbits were brought in (late afternoon).

Julie Hooks Stephens
Oreo:  is the sweetest most amazing bunny and would do well with anyone because she had an amazing personality.


julie and oreo

RIP Momo, Oreo & Braxxis we are so sorry.

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