WISCONSIN— Animal shelters near Milwaukee and Waukesha County will tell you: It’s generally a bad idea to give your kids or grandkids bunnies, chicks or ducks as Easter surprises.
For one thing, the novelty of these pets can quickly wear off. The abandonment of bunnies at animal shelters is a problem year-round, but the problem is especially acute at Easter. Rabbits are the third most abandoned pet in the United States, and the third most euthanized, according to the House Rabbit Society, which cited a 2012 study.
The abandonment of Easter bunnies is a bit of a hidden problem, according to the House Rabbit Society.
That’s because rabbits often don’t appear as their own category, as do dogs and cats surrendered to animal shelters, but are lumped together with birds, small animals and reptiles.
A 2012 study tracking intake and adoption numbers at four shelters in Massachusetts and Rhode Island over five years supported findings by the House Rabbit Society and Humane Society of the United States that rabbits rank third behind dogs and cats in the number that are surrendered.
Bunnies grow up to be rabbits — very quickly, by the way. They reach maturity at about 3 or 4 months and, true to their reputation, are hormonally driven. They can be cantankerous as adults that lunge, bite and mark their crates, hutches and your furniture with urine. Like cats and dogs, rabbits should be spayed and neutered.
Because rabbits live eight years or so, it’s important to take a long view of your family’s lifestyle.
If you’re still determined a live bunny should be part of your Easter shelter, you may be able to find one available for adoption at the local animal shelter.
And think about this:
Whoever said rabbits, chicks and ducks should be the only pets added to a household at Easter time? This season of rebirth may be a good time to give your child the responsibility of a pet, and there are lots of cats and kittens, dogs and puppies needing permanent homes. Here’s a good place to start your search: