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Press Release




Mary Cotter (NY)



Marinell Harriman (CA)



Easter Gifts Result in Summertime Orphans;

House Rabbit Society Warns Against Giving Live Bunnies as Easter Gifts


Bronxville, New York -- March 29, 2004

Every summer, the House Rabbit Society (HRS), a national rescue and education organization, receives a barrage of calls from people who have tired of the "Easter gifts" they purchased for their children just a few months before.  Adolescent bunnies who have outgrown their baby cuteness are abandoned at shelters, "set free," or ignored in backyard hutches. 


The problem occurs when well-intentioned parents, seduced by pre-Easter promotions of soft, cuddly bunnies, buy one on impulse to surprise their child, not realizing that companion rabbits can live 10 years or more, are not "low-maintenance" pets, and need an adult caretaker.  "Rabbits require the same long-term commitment as dogs and cats" says Mary Cotter, Marketing Director for HRS. "Your 9-year-old child will grow up and go away to college, and you will still be caring for the bunny."


Fragility is another issue.  "A rabbit's skeleton comprises only around 7% of its body weight," says Cotter. "Rabbits are not built to withstand the exuberant playfulness of young children, and they often end up with broken legs or backs."


"Good rabbit care," says says Marinell Harriman, founder and Executive Director of the House Rabbit Society, "involves spaying or neutering, litterbox-training, and creating a safe, indoor environment for your pet. Companion rabbits need daily exercise and grooming, proper diet, and skilled veterinary care."


If you are not sure you can make the kind of commitment needed to care for a live rabbit, HRS urges you to consider a toy rabbit or chocolate rabbit for your child instead.  For adults who have thoroughly educated themselves about rabbit care and have decided to share their home with a rabbit, Harriman suggests adopting from a shelter or rescue organization.  "No matter where you live," says Harriman, "you are probably within driving distance of a rabbit who desperately needs a safe, indoor home. "


About House Rabbit Society

House Rabbit Society is an international nonprofit organization that rescues rabbits and educates the public on rabbit care and behavior through its network of fosterers and educators, advocacy programs, and its rabbit shelter in Richmond, California. For comprehensive information on rabbit care, visit

House Rabbit Society is a nonprofit rescue and education group.
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