Letter: Before You Buy That Rabbit ...

To the Editor:

Easter is still a couple weeks off, but the torrent of rabbit breeding and dumping in our region is well under way. Animal control officers in the Upper Valley have been inundated with calls about dumped rabbits — some dumped by breeders with too much “stock” and some simply left on the side of the road. Craigslist ads for unwanted rabbits continue to flow from a bottomless reservoir. Local shelters and private individuals are currently overwhelmed with the burden of trying to care for as many rabbits as they can — a very expensive and laborious task given that many of these dumped animals need emergency veterinary care.

Why are there so many unwanted rabbits out there? Simple: overbreeding. There are not enough good homes out there to absorb the massive number of rabbits born daily. Rabbits reproduce, well, like rabbits — prolifically and quickly.

Millions of rabbits are euthanized every year or left to suffer lives of neglect and abuse simply because there are too many of them. Responsible pet owners should have their rabbits spayed and neutered just like cats and dogs to prevent this unnecessary cycle of overbreeding.

Before you acquire a rabbit (or any pet), do some research into what it takes to keep rabbits healthy and happy. Sadly 95 percent of baby rabbits purchased this Easter will die within the year. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not low-maintenance pets. They don’t especially enjoy being held, they need to live indoors with lots of space to exercise, suffer without companionship, and require regular veterinary care. And they can live 14 years.

To stop the cycle of overbreeding and euthanasia of rabbits and other pets, please adopt and don’t buy animals, especially as Easter gifts. For more information visit www.rabbitnetwork.org.

Lucy Goodrum