NORWALK - A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help care for 15 rabbits that were rescued from a small cage in the backyard of a Norwalk home last Friday.

The fundraising drive was launched by Linda Thibault, founder of the Norwalk-based Hopalong Hollow Rabbit Rescue. The nonprofit rescue group founded in 2004, has placed nearly 1,500 rabbits and small animals into new homes and safe foster care.

Thibault started the campaign Monday in hopes of covering the cost of medical treatment for each bunny “to ensure their healthy and happy futures.”

Thibault described the disturbing discovery of the rabbits that were rescued. Some of the details are quite graphic.

“On October 18, Norwalk Animal Control removed a group of rabbits from a backyard hoarding situation. These rabbits were being bred for consumption.

“The conditions they were in were disgusting. No food or water was available. Fifteen large breed New Zealands were being kept in a tiny wooden box like ‘cage. Males and females, all un-neutered, stuffed in together. There was barely room for all their feet to touch the floor.

“Hormones caused fighting and most of the males have damaged testicles from fighting each other. Bite wounds on many have abscessed and several have wounds and damage to their eyes. All are covered in urine and their feet literally caked with the manure that filled the bottom of the enclosure.

“Several managed to escape to save themselves. They were the catalyst to finding the others as when one was captured and when returned to the ‘owner,’ the finder was horrified and called us for help.

“They spent every day of their short lives hungry, dirty, living in manure as they waited to be eaten, The filth was inches deep as the cage had not been cleaned in a long time.

“One of the owners had passed away leaving the remaining older woman with the bunnies. She felt it was too much work to care for them. Most of the rabbits are young, two appear older, perhaps the mom and dad?

“All are in need of vet care and immediate spays and neuters to prevent more babies from being born, The Hollow is a small rescue. We are not equipped to take on a rescue of this size and cost alone.”

Donations can be made here.