Rabbit rescue groups across SoCal are urging people not to buy bunnies as Easter gifts

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CNS)– Rabbit rescue groups across Southern California are urging people not to buy bunnies as Easter gifts for children, saying a well-intentioned gesture often results in abandoned animals when the novelty wears off and families realize they are unequipped to properly care for the pets.

Instead, rescue groups recommend buying a stuffed toy bunny or a candy rabbit for children’s Easter baskets.

Retail sales of rabbits, dogs, and cats are banned in California, but direct selling is still allowed, including online, and there are also illegal street sales, where baby bunnies are sometimes marketed deceptively as adult “dwarfs.”

“Each year we receive numerous reports of bunnies being bought at Easter and then discarded once their cuteness or novelty has diminished, which is why we are strongly opposed to buying live animals as Easter gifts,” PETA’s Catie Cryar told City News Service.

For more information, see PETA’s website.

Jude Ferguson, who runs Kribs for Kritters, a Lake Elsinore-based rabbit rescue group, says her group always sees an increase in dumped rabbits after Easter.

“The spike usually comes in the summer, after baby buns grow up and become hormonal,” she told CNS.

She warned people never to release a domestic rabbit into the wild. Domestic and wild rabbits are different species, and domestic rabbits die very quickly if left outside.

“Just because they see wild cottontails outside doesn’t mean they can dump their pet rabbits outside,” Ferguson said. ‘

Ferguson advises people who keep their rabbits to contact local rescue organizations for resources on low-cost neutering and neutering surgeries.

“This is a big deal for people who are trying to do the right thing and just call their local vet and are caught off guard by the sticker shock,” she said.

For more information, see kribsforkritters@hotmail.com.

Kerri Mabee of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services told City News Service that the department isn’t seeing an increase in rabbits being adopted from shelters before Easter, or a large rush of people giving up rabbits after the holiday.

“However, we encourage residents to use due diligence when adopting a rabbit to ensure it fits well into the family,” she said. “Rabbits need exercise and a unique diet, so it’s a good idea to do some research on what’s involved in having a rabbit as a pet.”

Supporters of animals want them to be placed in loving homes and say they can make wonderful companions for those serious about the commitment. Proponents say the animals are gentle creatures who offer many advantages over other pets, including their calm nature and a diet of hay and vegetables that avoids the suffering and environmental damage associated with factory farming that feeds dogs and cats produced.

Rabbits are not easy-care pets. They need to be fed, cleaned and humanely housed in a rabbit-safe room, and veterinary care can be expensive, proponents note.

They also aren’t ideal pets for young children, as they respond best to calm energy and can be easily startled by a child’s hyperactivity.

Animal rights activists offered a number of basic tips:

– Pet rabbits should always be kept indoors.

– Rabbits must be spayed or neutered as soon as they are old enough (between four and six months) to avoid unnecessary breeding and to promote their health.

– Once spayed or neutered, rabbits should be mated with a mate for lifelong companionship. Single rabbits can be lonely and depressed.

– They should be fed a diet of unlimited timothy hay and a daily serving of leafy greens and pellets and alfalfa hay for rabbits under 6 months of age.

– They should never be kept in cages as they need space to hop around and exercise their legs.

– They need a thorough grooming every two to three months to remove excess fur and trim their nails.

– They are aggressive chewers and need to stay away from electrical cords and anything that could be dangerous if ingested, such as B. with tape or glued boxes are kept away.

– Rabbits that stop eating or appear to be in pain may die within 36 hours and require immediate attention from a veterinarian trained in rabbit care.

Mabee said that those looking to bring a rabbit into their home should consider adopting an animal from the shelter. She said many rabbits are available for adoption at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter at 6851 Van Buren Blvd. in the Jurupa Valley.

The House Rabbit Society also has resources for learning proper rabbit husbandry.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

https://abc7.com/rabbits-easter-gifts-warning-abandoned-animals/13092204/ Rabbit rescue groups across SoCal are urging people not to buy bunnies as Easter gifts

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