Kim Cooney, co-founder of The Rabbit Sanctuary with “Andy Pandy” an English Angora rescue rabbit.
Kim Cooney, co-founder of The Rabbit Sanctuary with “Andy Pandy” an English Angora rescue rabbit.

Animal rescue group make history after award win

A CLARENCE Valley animal rescue group has made Australian history thanks to a simple mobile phone app.

Last week The Rabbit Sanctuary was awarded the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Refuel Digital Technology Award for their design and launch of a handy phone application that tracks all rabbits that come into care.

“This is the first time in Australian history that a rabbit organisation has won an Australia-wide award,” Rabbit Sanctuary founder Kim Cooney said.

“That makes it extra special to me because it puts rabbits centre stage after a long history of rabbits having a bad reputation in this country.”

From the moment the organisation rescues a new rabbit, the app, titled ‘BunnyTracker’ begins tracking its progress.

“It tracks every aspect of that bunny: training, food, rehabilitation, foster care to adoption,” Mrs Cooney said.

“With this technology, we’re able to manage every single bunny, from here in the Clarence Valley right down to Sydney, Canberra, even the south coast where some of our foster carers live.”

“The app is a combination of years of work by volunteers entering data into spreadsheets to finally be created into the BunnyTracker app with the help of volunteer Gertraud Denscher.”

Mrs Cooney said the app was like a one-stop shop for bunny rehabilitation and adoption.

“We have 700 foster carers, and there’s even more if you count the volunteers, but every single one of them is able to get in touch with one another, order food for their bunnies, even book an appointment with a local bunny vet,” she said.

“The process to adopt has also shifted to online where someone fills out the form on our website, which then feeds into the app and, based on a points system, the prospective person will know if they are successful or not through email.”

Part of the award was a $2500 prize which Mrs Cooney said will go toward social marketing and further development of their website.

It’s understood a volunteer with The Rabbit Sanctuary was a finalist in the Advocate People’s Rescue Story as part of the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards.