Parents: Stick With Stuffed or Candy Bunnies and Chicks for Easter
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Easter is almost upon us, and while some parents might be tempted to give their children live bunnies or baby chicks, Amanda Mullen, director of Longmeadow Rescue Ranch, says bringing any animal into the home should be a well thought-out decision, and not just a holiday whim.
She adds that while rabbits can make great pets, they are a long-term family commitment.
"They need a certain size pen and a large crate,” she points out. “They have to have a litter box and a feeder, a water bottle, toys to play with.
“Your home should be bunny-proofed because you want to be able to let them out to get some exercise and socialization."
Mullen says that chickens and ducks are considered farm animals and are not allowed as pets in some areas.
She suggests parents consider giving children a gift certificate to the Humane Society or a local shelter for Easter.
Mullen says it simply isn't fair to animals when people treat them like holiday decorations instead of as new members of the family.
She says every year, Longmeadow Ranch takes in chicks and ducks that people have abandoned after Easter.
"They just think they can put them out on a park and that they'll be able to survive, and they don't,” she says. “They're domestic animals. They don't know how to get away from predators.
“Most domestic breeds of ducks can't fly so they really don't have the defenses that wild ducks do."
She adds that when it comes to rabbits, it's important to know they can live upwards of 10 years.
She says 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 many years.