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Bunnies, chicks are longtime commitments
When it comes to Easter basket goodies, sometimes the live ones may not be the best.
If the Easter Bunny is determined to put a live animal such as a chick or a bunny into an Easter basket, the family should be prepared for hard work and to care a lot for the animal.
"Rabbits have always been a sign of Easter, but they're really fragile creatures," said Erin Sitera, director of development at the Humane Society of Yuma. "They require a lot of responsibility."
Heather Dean, community outreach coordinator with Make Mine Chocolate, an international campaign to help educate people about owning rabbits as pets, said rabbits are the third most abandoned animal in the U.S. after cats and dogs.
She said that while rabbits may seem like a "low maintenance starter pet," owners need to be prepared for an eight- to nine-year commitment.
"And do realize 'my child will become bored with this animal in a few weeks,'" she said.
She said they also require veterinary care, something she said some families don't think about. A typical visit for a rabbit to the veterinarian can cost $40 to $50, Dean said, not including spay and neutering.
And the same amount of care goes for the cute little chicks, she said. "Little chicks grow up to be chickens and roosters."
Sitera said she knows firsthand. She said she had a chick that grew up to an aggressive rooster.
You have to have the right house for a chicken, she said.
"That animal is part of your family five, 10 years down the road. You want to research and make sure you're able to provide the care that animal needs.
"Make sure it works in everybody's schedule. It's not just a fun thing for the holiday."
That's also good advice for any pet a family is considering getting, she said.
Even though they don't have any rabbits right now, Sitera said, that doesn't mean they don't get any. If people are truly interested in getting a bunny or a chick, Sitera suggested looking for a rescue animal.
For more information about the Make Mine Chocolate campaign, or to play a bunny game to see if the pet is right for you, visit www.makeminechocolate.org.