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After Easter: Hard Times for Bunnies and Chicks

PHOTO: Despite yearly warnings, many parents buy Easter gifts of baby bunnies and chicks for sale in many pet stores and online on sites like Craigslist, but animal advocates caution that when the novelty wears off, there are limited options. Photo credit: Hihih Krulik/Wikipedia
PHOTO: Despite yearly warnings, many parents buy Easter gifts of baby bunnies and chicks for sale in many pet stores and online on sites like Craigslist, but animal advocates caution that when the novelty wears off, there are limited options. Photo credit: Hihih Krulik/Wikipedia
April 22, 2014

NEW YORK - Every year around Easter, animal experts stress that bringing any animal into the home should be a well-thought-out decision and not just a holiday whim. Yet parents still give kids live bunnies or baby chicks, often with their feathers dyed in colors.

With the right nutrition, housing and exercise, rabbits can make great pets, Brian Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United Staes said, but they are a long-term family commitment - a fact that often sinks in too late.

"If you have an animal, do not abandon an animal to the wild. It is against the law, under New York State law, abandoning a rabbit after Easter time," Shapiro warned.

Rabbits are the third-most-surrendered animals to shelters nationwide. However, baby chicks, which grow into chickens and roosters, are a bigger problem. Shelters are crowded with them. One alternative - although unlikely - is to find a farm willing to take them in.

Shapiro said every Easter brings a spike in rabbits surrendered to shelters.

"Many people will abandon animals to the wild, thinking that the bunny rabbit will somehow survive. They are not made to survive in the wild. These are bunny rabbits, not wild hares," he explained.

When it comes to rabbits, it's important to know they can live upwards of 10 years, he said, adding that it is not realistic to expect a child younger than 12 to be the primary caretaker of any animal, so parents need to accept that the responsibility may fall on them for years.



Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY