Why you don't want a bunny for Easter

March 5, 2008 4:38:24 PM PST
Easter is coming up and often kids want a bunny. They're cute, cuddly, but should you have them as a pet? Leigh Glaser was at the Animal Care and Control in San Francisco and introduces you to the "bunny lady," Marcy Schaaf from Save A Bunny.

The Animal Care and Control (ACC) in San Francisco has over 30 bunnies that are looking for a good home. We will talk about how to raise a bunny as a pet. Also with Easter right around the corner a lot of people will buy bunnies for their children. The ACC does not recommend you do this. Most often those bunnies given to children for Easter end up in the shelters later because people just don't have the time nor the knowledge on how to deal with in-home rabbits. Rabbits do make excellent pets but you really need to know what you are doing.

Animal Care And Control
1200 15th Street (at Harrison) in San Francisco Phone: (415) 554-6364 for Bunny Adoptions

Web Sites: www.animalshelter.sfgov.org
Adoption prices:
$55 for male bunnies and $65 for female bunnies - that includes spay or neuter surgery.

Thinking About Some Bunny To Love?

If you've heard the term, "multiplying like rabbits", then it won't surprise you to learn that the rabbit was a pagan fertility symbol. It may surprise you to learn, however, that rabbits should live indoors and not outside in hutches, and that they can recognize their names, play with toys, and when spayed or neutered, use a litter box. Rabbits can get along with cats and well-behaved dogs. Rabbits can make wonderful companions when people take the time to learn about the unique needs of these sensitive animals.

If you are considering getting your child or a friend a bunny, think twice and then some more. Then don't do it unless you want a rabbit and you are willing to make a 7-10 year emotional, financial and physical commitment. The sad truth is that most Easter rabbits either die before their first birthday from improper care, or end up at shelters a few weeks later when the novelty wears off. According to the ASPCA, rabbits are the third most frequently euthanized animals at shelters.

Contrary to public perception of rabbits as cuddly, low maintenance companions, rabbits are much more work than cats. As "prey " animals, rabbits prefer not to be lifted and held (even when "hand-raised" as babies). A real rabbit is not like a stuffed bunny rabbit that can be carried around and held by young children. Rabbits can be seriously injured or killed with improper handling, and will bite, scratch and kick when frightened or annoyed.

Unfortunately, rabbits are easily bought and sold at pet stores, often for less than the cost of a basic dog bed. Pet stores sell unaltered baby bunnies who soon turn into feisty, hormonal teenagers. Teenage human. Teenage bunny. You get it. You also cannot "train" a baby bunny to love you or like to be held. If a store tells you otherwise, tell them you know better.

All rabbits should be spayed and neutered for both health and behavioral reasons, even if they are single rabbits. Unspayed females have an 80% chance of getting cancer by four years old and tend to be aggressive and destructive. Unaltered males spray urine. If you buy a rabbit at a pet store, plan to spend an additional $100-$300 to have your rabbit spayed or neutered.

If you can commit to the specialized care rabbits need, the most cost effective and compassionate choice is to adopt a rabbit from a shelter, like San Francisco Animal Care and Control or a rescue group, like SaveABunny. You will find purebreds, mixed breeds, babies, adults, and big and small bunnies - happy, healthy and just waiting to be loved. Typical adoption fees average $50-$90 and your rabbit will already be spayed or neutered.

You will save a life and also save money. You'll also receive free ongoing support and guidance. By adopting and not buying, even from independent pet stores, you help yourself, the animals and the community.

Information from Save A Bunny.