North Shore residents thinking about picking up a cute fluffy rabbit as an Easter gift this year may want to think twice, according to Wilmette Pet Center which is holding a Rabbit Amnesty April 1 through Easter Sunday. The store has suspended all rabbit sales during the Easter season for the past four or five years.
According to Yuli Barrios, a Wilmette Pet Center sales associate, the store started this tradition in response to rabbits being abandoned shortly after Easter. The Red Door Shelter in Chicago noticed an uptick in rabbits being left at the shelter’s door front, while Animal Control found large amounts of rabbits abandoned outside. According to Barrios, these domesticated animals are unable to last more than a week outside. They are accustomed to being fed and cared for by humans.
Rabbits are a popular gift for Easter but people rarely realize the commitment involved, explained Barrios. Rabbits typically live an average life span of twelve years, and Barrios can attest to seeing healthy rabbits live up to seventeen years. The adorable animals also require a fair amount of care. They need a large cage that requires cleaning and many owners litter train bunnies so that they can hop about the house. They also need a steady diet of pellets, hay, supplements and leafy greens. And don’t forget love and attention. Rabbits don’t like to be ignored and need plenty of affection from their owners to be happy animals.
But don’t worry, if you still want a bunny rabbit as a pet the amnesty will be lifted after the holiday, or if you’ve reconsidered, you can swing by Wilmette Pet Center and admire the bunnies happily resting in a large cage in the window.