With Easter fast approaching, local rescues and animal welfare workers are working to educate the public on the basic care of the usual ‘Easter Pets’ that may be impulsively bought this season.
Animals such as ducklings, chicks and rabbits are often bought around Easter time as a fun gift that stands out from the rest. With Easter featuring some animals who are seen in ‘wild settings’ it can be easy to assume domesticated rabbits and ducks could also survive in the wild as well.
Independent animal rescuer, Isabella Ross said herself as well as friends of hers have rescued many ducks that were dumped after losing their ‘cute appeal.’
“Come Easter, almost every store decorates with and sells things like plushies, Easter baskets, and candies that are duck, chick, and bunny-themed. This can lead to children thinking these animals are clean, cute, and cuddly, when in fact they are very messy, dirty, and expensive,” said Ross. “Ducklings do not stay little for long. Within a matter of days, the little ducklings that could fit in your palm, are now five times larger. They also poop every 5-10 minutes, and require a lot of cleaning.”
Ross said ducks are bred to be domestic, meaning they cannot live on their own as wild ducks do. They can not fly and are very dependent on humans for food, so dumping them in a nearby body of water is actually a death sentence for them.
“An alternative to buying ducklings if you want your children to experience them for Easter is to bring your children to a farm where they can play with the ducklings and grown ducks for a period of time,” said Ross. “More often than not, children get bored of these animals very quickly, so doing this would save many lives of these poor animals. They are not toys or gifts to be given to someone unless you are 1 million percent dedicated to them.”
Windsor Essex County Humane Society has seen a large number of surrenders since Covid-19. Humane Society Executive Director, Melanie Coulter said the Humane Society doesn’t see an immediate difference in numbers after Easter for ‘Easter Pet’ surrenders, but they do see an increase closer to the summer.
“We tend to see Easter pets in August and September as they grow older and kids go back to school, parents realize caring for them isn’t as easy as it used to be,” said Coulter. “It’s one thing if your family had been talking about getting a kitten. Then you thought about getting a kitten, plan for getting a kitten, you decide that you’re going to get your family a kitten on Easter weekend, and that’s going to be your gift to each other. That that kind of thing can be the best holiday ever. That scenario is very different from bringing home a baby bunny for a five-year-old and expecting that to be their Easter present that they’re going to continue to care for long-term.”
Ross said some things for people to keep in mind when getting a pet is their basic needs such as;
- Proper nutrition
- Appropriate and predator-proof housing and runs
- Proper husbandry practices
- Being prepared to handle the responsibility and possibility of illnesses or injuries
- Being dedicated to a 10-20 year commitment
- Ensure no one in the household is allergic and everyone is on the same page with getting said pet