Monday, March 25, 2013

New Pet Bunny for Easter?

Bunnies and fluffy little chicks seem to epitomize spring for many people, and some of those people will be tempted to bring home one or more of the baby animals for Easter. For those who are very determined to bring home a new pet rabbit, understanding the needs and appropriate accommodations for the new bunny can make a huge difference in whether the bunny settles in effectively as a family pet.

Ms. Moonpie               PHOTO/Amy Whitney
 The Georgia House Rabbit Society offers both online guidelines and in-person classes to help new bunny-owners make their new pets welcome, and also helps people find out whether bunny-ownership is actually the right move for the family.

Like other domesticated animals, a pet rabbit, or a bonded pair of rabbits, can provide both companionship and entertainment. A happy rabbit is a joy to observe! However, bringing home domesticated rabbits requires a long-term commitment. Healthy rabbits live for about ten years, and their care can involve more expense than some families will be prepared for.

Bunnies need indoor housing and  regularly-cleaned litter boxes. Their daily needs include timothy hay, fresh bunny-friendly greens, pelleted food, supervised exercise time in the home, and quality time with their owners. The responsibilities are large enough that most children will not be able to manage these all on their own; an adult needs to be in charge.

People who find that the responsibility of keeping a pet rabbit is more than they had expected will need to find new owners for their bunny. Many, many years of breeding and domestication have taken a lot of the "wild" out of domesticated bunnies, which means that these pets cannot just be let loose out-of-doors with the expectation that they will be able to fend for themselves.

Georgia law also recognizes the duty of people to not abandon their too-burdensome pets. Section 14-11-15.1 of The Georgia Animal Protection Act notes: "it shall be unlawful for any person knowingly and intentionally to abandon any domesticated animal upon any public or private property or public right of way."

As with adopting any pet into a family, knowing and accepting the responsibilities involved are vital steps in the process. For families willing to make the adjustments in their schedules and budgets, the joys can compensate for the changes made. Looking into the "care health and diet" guidelines posted on the website of the Georgia House Rabbit Society can help families decide whether they are able to make a commitment to adopting pet rabbits.