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Unwanted Easter bunnies face a dire future

Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-22 10:04:26-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Some people like to buy their own bunnies to celebrate Easter Sunday, but that usually isn’t the best idea unless you know what you’re getting yourself into.

For 10 or 11 months out of the year, bunnies usually aren’t the most popular animal to adopt, according to Callista Pearson with Salt Lake County Animal Services. But for some reason, every year around April, people get the idea to fill their Easter basket.

That’s a good thing if the owner is responsible. It’s not so good if the bunnies end up going right back to the shelter, or worse.

“We’ve had bunnies anywhere from like six to twelve months at a time,” Pearson said. “We actually get bunnies all year long… Once they’re no longer tiny little cute things, (people) just let them outside.”

People tend to realize too late that rabbits get a lot bigger and live a lot longer than the new owner might expect. When they come to the sad realization that maybe this wasn’t the pet for them, they let the bunnies go.

“When you get a bunny, you’re getting a pet – a family member – for 10 years,” Pearson said. “If you just want one for the cuteness of a photo, I would ask that you just print out a cute little bunny and hold something that you got from Michael’s.”

Around this same time a couple years ago, April 2017, a woman admitted to dumping about 100 bunnies on the side of the road near Ogden, where only wild rabbits are supposed to survive.

“Not the domestic bunnies, definitely not them,” Pearson said. “They’re meant to be cuddled. They’re meant to be snuggled. They’re meant to be a pet.”

Casey Matue and Ryan Malan found the rabbits and called for help.

“My kids are sitting there saying, ‘Dad? Why would anyone do this?” Matue said.

“There were rabbits everywhere,” Malan said. “There were already some dying in the middle of the road.”

When domestic bunnies are left in the wild, usually two things happen.

First, they breed like rabbits. Then, when there are a lot of bunnies on the menu, a bunch of hungry animals start to pay attention.

“It will bring in predators,” Pearson said. “It will bring in raccoons, it’ll bring in foxes, skunk, you know, things that want to eat.”

If you have domestic bunnies in your neighborhood, sometimes it can be tough to catch them because they’re so quick. Salt Lake County Animal Services is willing to help you set up the area with traps to capture them safely.

You can contact Salt Lake County Animal Services at (385) 468 7387.