Every year at Easter time, many parents purchase rabbits at pet stores as gifts for their children without thinking about the time, care and attention the animals need. The result is an influx to local shelters and certain death when they are abandoned in the wild, according to a release from the Rabbit Haven.
The local rescue group is reminding parents to weigh carefully before deciding to add a rabbit to the family. After taking all factors into account, anyone who still decides to take on the responsibility is urged to adopt from their local shelters or a rescue group.
Rabbit Haven adoptions come with complete rabbit-care education, a booklet on rabbit care, spay or neuter services, a free vet exam and valuable coupons for supplies, according to the release. Counselors also are available to answer questions.
Rabbits need space, will need to live indoors, and need as much care as a dog or cat, the organization warns. Once the novelty wears off, the rabbits are often cast aside, ending up in shelters or released into the wild to fend for themselves.
"They are not good 'starter' pets for young children," according to the release.
Children are naturally energetic, exuberant and loving, but "loving" to a small child may mean holding, cuddling, carrying an animal around in whatever grip their small hands can manage, according to the release. These are precisely the kinds of things that make most rabbits feel insecure
and frightened, causing them to scratch or bite simply out of fear.
Those rabbits who survive the first few months quickly reach maturity, and when they are no longer tiny and cute, children often lose interest, according to the Rabbit Haven.
The rabbit "has no voice to remind you he's hungry or thirsty or needs his cage cleaned" and then "is gradually neglected."
--Rabbits need as much care and attention as dogs and cats.
--They should live indoors.
--All bunnies need to be spayed or neutered. Unspayed females have an 87 percent risk of cervical and uterine cancer.
--They can learn to use a litter box.
--They have a lifespan of 10 years or more. For information, call 831-600-7479 or go to www.therabbithaven.org.
SOURCE: Rabbit Haven
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