Ah, springtime. Warmer weather, blooms bursting forth from the ground and trees – it’s earth’s ways of celebrating new life. Springtime also brings traditional Easter celebrations. Sadly, a few weeks later, shelters are left to deal with thousands upon thousands of abandoned animals.
How does this happen? In addition to spring litters from unaltered cats and dogs crowding animal shelters, too many ill-informed people make the decision that the baby chick, duckling or bunny will make the cutest Easter gift EVER.
While bringing an animal into your family can be a wonderful thing, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly – and no matter how cute, baby animals are not meant to be living Easter displays – something many quickly find out after the fact. Sadly, most of these Easter animals will end up abandoned after a few weeks. In fact, around 80 percent of rabbits found in shelters were Easter gifts. Most will end up being euthanized. Not a very good message to send, is it?
While rabbits can be wonderful pets, they require mature, responsible owners. They are NOT good with children, and they require almost as much work as a dog. They must be housetrained. Rabbits love to chew things, so the house must also be bunny-proofed or they will chew through electrical cords, furniture, baseboards, books, rugs and other items. They must also be spayed or neutered lest they mark the house with urine and feces, or worse – give birth to another litter of little ones. Chicks and ducklings also grow quickly and require a lot of care.
If you are certain you want and can care for a new pet bunny, chicken or duck, that’s wonderful – but please, please, wait until after Easter – remember, there is never a shortage of adoptable pets. In the meantime, go for the stuffed variety.