Friday, June 21, 2024

Junior, the largest bunny in the U.S., has launched his presidential campaign

Junior, a Continental Giant rabbit, is Virginia's Official Easter Bunny. He weighs more than 25 pounds and eats $50 worth of greens a week. (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Angela Maxwell)
Junior, a Continental Giant rabbit, is Virginia’s Official Easter Bunny. He weighs more than 25 pounds and eats $50 worth of greens a week. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Angela Maxwell)

Weighing in at more than 25 pounds, he’s earned celebrity status as the largest bunny in America.

Now Lord Roland Watson Beldon Maxwell VIII, also known as Junior, is hitting the campaign trail in his run for the 2020 presidency.

Angela ‘Max’ Maxwell, director and founder of The Bunny Hutch Boutique & CLIMATES Exotic Animal Rescue in Virginia Beach , said she joked about Junior running for president after discussing with friends how many write-in votes Mickey Mouse receives during election years.

But with Junior’s celebrity status, the joke soon turned into a full-blown social media campaign.

Maxwell said once she closes the animal shelter arm of her business by the end of the year, she and Junior will set out in a 40-foot bus to cover ground from New York to California.

“Besides going to visit friends, and while we we’re in different places across the United States, we’re going to do free programs for rescues and educate the public about exotic pet ownership,” she said.

RELATED STORY: Meet Junior, the state’s official Easter Bunny. Oh, and he lives in Hampton Roads

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Yes, fans. The shelter may be closing, but the hard work is ahead! #jrthegiant #jrforpresident #jimmyfallon

A post shared by JR from The Bunny Hutch (@hutchthebunny) on

While the exotic pet industry continues to grow, Maxwell said the “laws on buying, selling and ownership have not caught up in the slightest.”

Hence, Junior’s mission on the campaign trail to bring awareness about the unique and often difficult care required to own an exotic pet.

Once the runt of his litter and a breed of rabbit known as Continental Giants, Junior is still growing but Maxwell said he probably won’t make it to weigh more than his father, who at more than 50 pounds and 4-foot-3 inches, is the Guinness Book of World Record’s longest bunny.

And, contrary to popular practices, Maxwell said bunnies are not ideal as starter pets.

“Rarely spayed or neutered, often purchased as gifts, [rabbits] do not tolerate heat well and are terrible pets for young children — and require a great deal of care,” she said. “Seventy-five to 85 percent of female rabbits die of ovarian cancer by ages 3 to 5.”

For Maxwell, a combat veteran, Junior is a service pet and won’t be leaving her side anytime soon.

Over the last seven years, Maxwell and her team of volunteers have rescued more than 220 unique animals like the rat snakes, tarantulas, and red foxes who wouldn’t quite fit in at your average city-funded shelters.

Their online boutique will stay open, but before the pair start on their journey, all the other animals currently sheltered at The Bunny Hutch including an 8-foot snake, are looking for new homes.

To learn about The Bunny Hutch Boutique and their adoptable animals, or to follow Junior on the campaign trail, click here.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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