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Rescue Groups: Avoid Impulse Pet Purchases; Stick to Chocolate Bunnies

Animal rescue organizations say rabbits should not be impulse purchases. (Hans Splinter/Flickr)
Animal rescue organizations say rabbits should not be impulse purchases. (Hans Splinter/Flickr)
April 12, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa - A real, live bunny may seem like a cute, cuddly Easter gift for child, but animal-welfare groups are cautioning Iowans to stick to the chocolate ones.

Susan Mangold of the Columbus House Rabbit Society in Ohio said she co-founded the "Make Mine Chocolate" campaign 15 years ago as a way to reduce the number of rabbits coming into their care, especially when they were an impulse purchase.

"They go into a pet store around Easter," she said, "and there are these adorable little baby bunnies, and who can resist a baby anything? The reality is, rabbits can live eight to 10 years or longer. They're a much more demanding, more high-maintenance pet than most people understand."

After Easter, Mangold said, local animal-rescue groups often are inundated with rabbits whose owners decide they don't want them. Her message, she said, is that animals aren't disposable, and she recommended that Iowans stick to chocolate bunnies.

Tom Colvin, executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, noted that bunnies can make great pets, but they may not be the right fit for every family. He strongly urged that folks do their homework.

"All pets do require quite a bit of care and specialized care, so it's always recommended that they research all of the needs - the medical needs, the dietary needs, the level of time and housing, and all those types of things," he said. "Take that into account before getting a bunny."

If the new owner of a bunny is struggling, Mangold said, a local rabbit-rescue organization can help by either offering support so the animal can stay in the home or locating a foster family.

"Certainly, they need to reach out and see if they can get some assistance," she said. "The absolute last thing they want to do is dump the animal outside. That is a certain death, because a domestic rabbit is completely unprepared to look after itself in the wild."

Mangold said an estimated four out of every five bunnies given as Easter gifts are abandoned or die in less than a year.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA