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Letter: Rabbits not for everyone

They are not good pets for young children…they can easily be injured

To the editor:

The front page of the Capital News, April 14, 2017, shows a photo of a little girl, perhaps about three years old, holding a rabbit. Although a very cute photo, it sends the wrong message to the public. I don’t mean to criticize so please take this letter constructively to help the animals.

The child is holding the rabbit without supporting the back legs. Without support, rabbits can become restless and start twisting and squirming. They have weak backs and can easily be injured and become paralyzed, ending their life. Rabbits are not good pets for young children. They require careful handling, inside housing, the opportunity to be part of the family, and a special diet. They can be great house pets if adopted by the right people, for the right reasons. If a child is involved, most sources suggest that the child be about 10-years-old, since motor skills are more developed, and interest in the pet and proper care is likely to be less fleeting than with very young children.

Every year after Easter, rescue agencies take in more rabbits. Sadly, many are bought as impulse items, with little thought as to the needs of the animal. There is a wealth of information online, if only people would look. I have counseled countless people thinking about having a bunny. Once many of them learn what is involved, they thankfully reconsider. I have helped many rabbits find great homes. Please, if you have a new bunny and need help, contact the SPCA. Staff and volunteers can help with questions. Above all, do not abandon your pet.

Marie Sherman, Kelowna