April 5, 2007 -- It is Easter time again. Rabbits are a familiar symbol of the Easter holiday. In the days leading up to it, they appear on television commercials and packages of candy, and stores are filled with stuffed rabbits. It is no surprise that children beg their parents for a bunny of their own.
Ill-prepared to care for these unique creatures, their "owners" often quickly tire of them. In the months following Easter, local humane societies and rabbit rescues are flooded with rabbits, former Easter gifts whose "owners" no longer want them. In 2006, hundreds of rabbits were surrendered to animal shelters throughout Illinois. Hundreds more died outside from exposure.
Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not good starter pets for children. They are high-maintenance, expensive pets that live up to 10 years. Veterinarian and President of Help Save Pets - Humane Society of Plainfield, Dr. Tony Kremer says, "Rabbits should be housed indoors, provided an appropriate diet and receive regular veterinary care." They thrive in an environment where they are accepted on their own terms as a member of the family.
"I would say usually by May or June every year, we notice an influx of rabbits being brought into us," notes Kremer. Dr. Kremer's says staff members working at the shelter hear the same basic story over and over: Parents or relatives bought a bunny as an Easter gift for a child, "and, gee, now that they've had it for two months, their tired of it, and they don't want to take care of it anymore." Kremer said. "Due to impulse buying, we are working with several pet stores to discourage people from buying animals for Easter gifts." "We are trying to educate them - let them know what to expect, how long the bunny's going to live, how big it's going to get, what it needs to be taken care of and that it is a six-to-eight-year commitment," he said. Kremer also noted; giving any animal as a surprise gift for any reason is a bad idea.
"No matter what time of year or what holiday it is, everyone really has to ask 'Is the right time in my life for a pet?'" he said.
Before getting a pet, ask yourself these questions:
If a rabbit is in your future, do the research and your homework, visit with your veterinarian or contact the House Rabbit Society. By making an informed decision, we can guarantee you will have a happy and healthy hop down the bunny trail!
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK:
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