Please, No Pets for Easter

 

Every spring, just in time for Easter, the rabbit population begins its annual explosion. Some parents can’t resist tucking a real live bunny in the basket along with the jelly beans.  But animal welfare groups across the country, from the Missouri House Rabbit Society to shelters nationwide, issue the same plea: Don’t give in.

First of all, a holiday is no time to get a pet. A new pet will be frightened and disoriented; it deserves a calm, even boring debut, not barking dogs, a houseful of strangers, and frenzied children darting around looking for eggs.

But more important, bunnies–and this goes for chicks and ducks, too–are more high-maintenance than you might think. They can’t independently roam your house, unless you don’t mind them gnawing down the dining-room chair legs or tattering your curtains. They need a lot of attention and interaction (kids are great at this part … at first). They need a large indoor cage, exercise, and grooming. And fowl of any kind will need some sort of coop, feed, possibly a water source to swim in, and protection from predators. And did I mention the mess?

A rabbit or duck’s lifespan is ten-plus years. The commitment is the same as for a cat or a dog, and these animals cannot be abandoned to the wild and expected to “make it.” Without the defenses and street savvy of their wild cousins, they’re sure to fall victim to predators.

A rabbit can make a wonderful pet–if you’ve done your research, have the space and time necessary, and have prepared your home and family for its arrival.  You may be ready for the joys of a pet bunny. But please, wait until after Easter.

(For more information on rabbit care, visit the Humane Society of the United States information page. As always, we urge you to consider adopting a homeless animal from a shelter or rescue center.)


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