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Cute, cuddly-and a commitment.

Byline: JAIME SHERMAN The Register-Guard

CORRECTION (ran 3/19/02): The Greenhill Humane Society can be reached at 689-1503. A story Monday in the City/Region section about pet rabbits listed the wrong number.

A bunny may seem like the perfect gift on Easter morning, but less perfect later: Rabbits that are cute and lovable at the pet store can soon become an unwelcome chore.

Humane society volunteers know this all too well: Each year in the months following Easter, animal shelters receive many unwanted rabbits.

"It's referred to as the Easter dump," Barbara Ray of the Greenhill Humane Society said Sunday at the shelter's Rabbit Education Day.

Ray and other rabbit experts encourage people to evaluate the pros and cons of owning a bunny before rushing to buy one.

"A rabbit, like any other pet, needs to be a well thought-out decision," Ray said.

With Easter less than two weeks away, many people are sure to buy a bunny. "They do it spontaneously," Ray said.

"Then they get bored. Then it becomes a problem because rabbits are a long-term commitment for a family."

Springfield veterinarian Matthew Fricke told potential bunny owners how a rabbit should be cared for if it's living in the house with its owners:

Daily meals of hay, food pellets and fresh vegetables are a must - along with fresh water, safe shelter and routine exercise. Also, rabbit owners shouldn't leave electrical cords and toxic materials where they can be reached, Fricke said.

To quickly treat diseases that can be fatal to rabbits, Fricke recommended people know their rabbits' behavior well enough to know when they should be taken to the vet.

A rabbit's lifespan can be doubled when it is spayed or neutered, Fricke said. The surgery helps lower the risk of cancer, eliminates unwanted pregnancies and often makes for a calmer, happier rabbit.

For more information on house rabbit care, click on www.rabbit.org or contact the Greenhill Humane Society at 689-1503.

CAPTION(S):

PAUL CARTER / The Register-Guard Greenhill Humane Society rabbit volunteer Mary Schmidt cuddles with Xander during the shelter's Rabbit Education Day on Sunday. Six-year-old Elsa Heising visits the rabbits at Greenhill Humane Society on Sunday. She was among dozens of visitors who came to the shelter's Rabbit Education Day, where rabbit experts encouraged people to evaluate the pros and cons of owning a bunny before rushing to buy one.
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Title Annotation:Easter: Animal shelters want people to know about the chores that go with owning a pet rabbit.; Holidays
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 18, 2002
Words:398
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