With Easter fast approaching, bunnies are on the brain for many. But before hopping into the adoption of a rabbit, staff from the Vanderburgh Humane Society want people to know it’s a potentially decade long commitment and not just a seasonal fling.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, rabbits are the third most surrendered animal to humane societies across the country. A 2012 study found around 75% off all rabbits at animal shelters were surrendered by their former owners. That’s certainly the case at VHS which has 18 rabbits as of Friday.
Seventeen of those were owner surrenders.
“Normally around this time we tend to say to people, if you’re getting a bunny for Easter make it chocolate,” said Amanda Coburn, the media and development coordinator at VHS. “Bunnies are actually not great pets for very young children. They don’t like to be picked up and carried a lot. They like to be supported with all four feet or have all four feet on the ground. It’s really more like getting a dog or a cat than a hamster or something like that.”
While many of the rabbits at VHS resemble the cadbury bunny, that doesn’t mean you should adopt one while eating your cadbury egg. Adopting, raising and housing a rabbit takes commitment. A rabbit can live anywhere from 10 to 12 years. Their cages require daily cleaning and the rabbits themselves need hours of daily exercise.
“Make sure the whole family is ready to commit because like any other pet, if you’re going to get it for your child, your child is going to be sick of it after a couple of months,” Coburn said. “You want to make sure that you as a parent want a rabbit just as much as your child does.”
VHS has 18 rabbits as of Friday afternoon, an unusually high number for this time of year. If the non-profit animal shelter were to take in any additional rabbits, tough decisions will have to be made in order to humanely accommodate them.
“If you’re ready for a bunny, please don’t buy from pet stores. Don’t buy from farm supply stores. Always check your local shelter first because the Vanderburgh Humane Society always has bunnies,” Coburn said.
Adopting a rabbit costs $30 at VHS. The adoption fee covers the animal’s spay or neuter procedure.