3-foot-long rabbit found dead on United flight related to Virginia Beach rabbit

Posted at 10:48 AM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 21:32:12-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The 3-foot-long rabbit, Simon, found dead on a United flight is the half brother of a rabbit in Virginia Beach.

On Wednesday, The Bunny Hatch posted on their Facebook page.

Traveling United from London Heathrow to Chicago's O'Hare to a new home, Simon was found dead in the cargo upon arrival.

Lord Roland Watson Beldon Maxwell VIII, or Jr., as the local rabbit is known, appeared on Coast Live in March.

He is offspring of the current Guinness Book World’s Record Largest Bunny, “King Darius."

"I felt horrible," says Dr. Angela Maxwell, CEO and founder of The Bunny Hatch and CLIMATES Rescue, an exotic animal rescue in Virginia Beach. "At first people were worried that something happened to Jr."

Dr. Maxwell bought Jr. from Annette Edwards, the same owner that Simon came from.

However, she says she paid for Jr., to fly to Virginia from an organization that is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, not an airline like United.

"Even though it's legal we would never, ever, transport the rabbit in the cargo area of a plane," she says.

Dr. Maxwell says Jr.'s heart rate is 120 beats per minute, and Simon's was likely the same.

"It was totally avoidable," she says. "The anxiety of traveling, not knowing he was leaving Annette who he knew, not traveling with an individual he knew, his anxiety, he probably just had a heart attack, that it was just too stressful for a rabbit."

There has not been an official announcement about how Simon died, but the tragedy is part of why Dr. Maxwell is always pushing for more awareness when it comes to the treatment of exotic animals.

As for 3-foot-long, 25 pound Jr., eventually filling his father's shoes as world's longest rabbit, Dr. Maxwell says, not a chance.