Before hopping into a bunny purchase, understand what it takes: Rescue groups

CHEK

For the Easter long weekend, animal advocates are pleading with those considering buying bunnies as pets to stray away from the idea.

Chocolate rabbits and eggs won’t be hard to find for the long weekend. Yet, rescue groups are worried that some may choose to buy a real rabbit instead as a pet.

“Please do not get rabbits for your kids this Easter,” said Amy McLaughlin, founder of Amy’s Bunny Barn.

While holding Waffles, one of 12 rabbits dumped and rescued, she tells CHEK News that Easter is one of the worst years for rescue groups like hers because many bunny owners abandon them not knowing the responsibility of caring for them.

“In reality, they’re so much more work than cats and dogs,” she said.

Four to six months following Easter, rescue groups see an increase in surrendered and dumped bunnies. At any given time, she has usually 50 to 70 bunnies, including ones dumped, surrendered, and in foster care.

“People are surrendering them because the kids have lost interest or [the rabbit’s] personalities have changed once they start to develop,” said McLaughlin.

SEE ALSO: Bunnies believed to be abandoned at Esquimalt construction site cause concern among neighbours

Veterinarian bills, large cages, fresh food, and giving ample attention to rabbits are just some of the requirements to ensure they’re well taken care of. When they’re not sent off to rescue groups, they’re often dumped.

In 2010, dumped rabbits were a reason that more than 2,000 bunnies overtook the University of Victoria campus. The university decided to cull some after capturing efforts weren’t successful. Other bunnies were relocated to a shelter in Coombs.

In 2016, the province of B.C. had to step in after dumped bunnies became a nuisance on the Helmcken overpass on Highway 1 in the West Shore.

Broken Promises founder Pamela Sadler says dumping bunnies can often lead to their death.

“When they don’t think it through and they just dump them outside, they’re going to have a horrific death. They’re scared, they’re starving. Predators will get them and then they’re gonna keep producing if they don’t die,” said Sadler.

Before hopping on the bunny boom, McLaughlin says it’s important to do extensive research on what it takes to care for the animals.

Both rescue groups say another option is to stick to the chocolate bunnies, which takes a lot less work.

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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