Think before buying an Easter bunny

NEW YORK – Each year, in the days leading up to the Easter, many parents and grandparents race to the pet store in search of a “special” Easter friend for the youngsters in their lives – an adorable little rabbit or chick.

Unfortunately, those same relatives are often left to comfort children after the loss of that “special friend” a short time later.

The majority of the baby bunnies, chicks and ducks who are given as Easter gifts may only survive the first few weeks after the holiday, according to the American Humane Association.

Points to ponder.

Thinking about giving a bunny or chick as an Easter gift? Here are a few things to think about before heading to over to the pet store:

* The gift of a pet may be an unwelcome surprise. The recipient may not want or be permitted to have a pet.

* Ducklings, chicks and baby bunnies are extremely vulnerable little animals, and poorly suited as pets, especially for children.

They require special feeding, care and consistent temperature control. During the course of play, small children often unwittingly break their fragile bones and cause other fatal injuries.

* The novelty of caring for such high-maintenance pets may wear off pretty quickly.

Those animals who do survive the first few weeks are often released to animal care and control agencies or worse, into the woods off someone’s property.

Big responsibility.

This Easter, carefully weigh the options of bringing a bunny or a chick into the house as a special pet for your children.

If you feel that your child cannot handle the responsibility, substitute a stuffed animal in place of the real one.

Some children are extremely responsible and can manage the care required by a delicate chick or rabbit. In these cases, supervise your child as much as possible, and have fun choosing a name for your new furry or feathery friend.

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