Why rabbits aren’t holiday pets

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RICHMOND, B.C.: MARCH 21, 2016– A wild rabbit on the lawns of the Richmond Auto Mall on Sunday, March 20. Photo by LINDA NGUYEN

With Easter around the corner, pet activists say you might want to reconsider getting a bunny for the holiday.

Olga Betts, President of Vancouver Rabbit Rescue and Advocacy said:

“It is a problem and we do try to raise awareness about it. We do get the strange calls sometimes from people, who want to rent rabbits to put on their lawn when their kids are looking for Easter eggs. They’re sort of ornaments or something really odd,”

Every year, there are rabbits dropped off at the SPCA after Easter.

Ryan Voutilainen, manager of Burnaby SPCA branch said the SPCA does not have enough resources to keep the animals for long periods due to a lack of space.

“They’re all placed up for adoption. If we don’t have room in the shelter, we reach out to other rescue organizations or put them into foster homes.” Voutilainen said. “The average rabbits stays in our facilities for typically a couple of months.”

Graham White, owner of Noah’s Pet Ark on West Broadway, said people buy rabbits all year around, not just at Easter.

“People don’t target bunnies at Easter, people look for bunnies all year around. From what I’ve seen after 35 years, that’s kind of an urban news myth,” White said. “We send people up to the rabbit rescue place if they want a bunny, but we are always trying to make sure that they’re not getting into something beyond what they’re looking for.”

Voutilainen said the problem lies with negligent owners caring for rabbits after the novelty of Easter wears off.

“It depends, some people will care for them for quite some time and some of them for only a couple of months.” Voutilainen said. “[Rabbits] need to see specialized veterinarians and need specialized care.”

For Betts, she suggests there other kinds of rabbits people can buy.

 “If you are interested in getting your child a rabbit for Easter, make it a chocolate one,” Betts said.

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