With Easter right around the corner, Seattle Animal Shelter wants to remind you that cute bunny rabbits and adorable baby chicks make crappy presents. Or, at the very least, they want you to think long and hard before giving the animals as gifts this holiday.
A recent reminder on the Seattle Animal Shelter’s The Scoop blog points out that every year “thousands of baby chicks and rabbits are sold as Easter presents,” and “a few months after Easter, many of these pets are surrendered or abandoned and end up looking for a new home.”
While Easter provides a convenient opportunity to raise these concerns, the problem of homeless rabbits is not a new one for Seattle. In December, in advance of the opening of the Seattle Animal Shelter’s new spay and neuter clinic for rabbits, Kara Main-Hester, the shelter’s manager of volunteer programs and fundraising, told Seattle Weekly that rabbits are the third-most dropped off animal at Seattle’s shelters. Main-Hester went on to say that the Seattle Animal Shelter adopted out roughly 300 “critters” in 2012, with “most of them rabbits.”
Of course, finding their way to a shelter in such a scenario is perhaps the best possible outcome for these unwanted hoppers. The alternative, in many cases, is irresponsible rabbit owners simply releasing the animals into the wild, which almost always results in their untimely death.
“It’s really a miserable situation,” Main-Hester said of the predicament, which helped lead to the creation of the city’s spay and neuter clinic specifically for rabbits.
Speaking with Seattle Weekly Thursday morning, Main-Hester says business has been brisk at the Seattle Animal Shelter’s spay and neuter clinic for rabbits since its opening earlier this year. “We’ve seen a huge number of rabbits come through,” she says, noting “there was definitely a need.” Because of this, Main-Hester says the clinic is currently in the process of expanding its operation so it can serve even more of Seattle’s rabbits.
In the spirit of thinking twice before gifting a rabbit or baby chick this Easter, the Seattle Animal Shelter also notes on its blog that rabbits live an average of 7 to 10 years, while a chicken has an expected lifespan of 10 to 15 years. The agency goes on to point out that half of the chicks sold at Easter will turn into roosters, which are forbidden within city limits.
And for anyone who just has to have a rabbit this Easter, Seattle Animal Shelter recommends its foster bunny program, which it says “places baby bunnies in foster homes until they are old enough to be spayed or neutered and find their forever family.”