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Letter: Rabbits and Easter

I am writing to urge parents, who are considering the purchase of a rabbit for their children this Easter, to reconsider. Rabbits are adorable and fun when they are babies, but will they still be perceived this way in 6 months? Will they end up forgotten and alone in the backyard or dropped off at an already crowded animal shelter?

I do not believe in keeping rabbits in backyard hutches. It is a lonely, boring and unsafe life. Rabbits are clean animals, who can live indoors because they can be trained to use a litter box. Rabbits are social creatures; a rabbit who has no companionship from humans or another rabbit lives a very sad life. Outdoor rabbits are susceptible to attacks from predators and can suffer heart attacks from fright. Rabbits are very sensitive to heat and can suffer from heat stroke. Winter can cause frostbite and frozen water can lead to dehydration.

Rabbits are playful and love to run, jump in the air, play with toys and carve doors and windows into cardboard boxes. Rabbits can be destructive because they have a natural inclination to chew. They like to chew wires, molding and furniture. Unless rabbits are kept in a “rabbit-proofed” room, they should be confined to a cage or pen when no one is home to supervise their play. Rabbits can make good pets, but they are not the easiest.

One should research having a rabbit as an indoor pet before getting one.

If you decide that an indoor rabbit would work in your home, consider adopting rather than buying. There are hundreds of homeless rabbits in the Northeast alone and many have to be euthanized. Check out www.hopline.com or www.dpvhs.org for local adoptable rabbits and more information.

MAUREEN IPPOLITO

Leverett

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