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'Buy chocolate bunnies this easter, not real ones,' plead experts

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Think long and hard before adopting a rabbit this week.

That’s the message from northern Ontario animal groups who fear on weeks like this, when we’re just days away from Easter, people may try to adopt bunnies without doing their proper research.

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The real concern is what will happen to the animals afterward. Experts told CTV News people should be prepared before taking on this commitment.

“Bunnies are not rodents, they’re lagomorphs, so they’re actually exotic pets so they’re not like dogs or cats,” said Enara Iturregui, of the Sudbury Bunny Rescue Room.

“Although their personality is very similar to both dogs and cats but it means that they’re maybe not as easy to re-home because they require a little bit more care.”

In moving back to Sudbury, Iturregui helped found the rescue seeing a need in the city.

The foster-based group has between 13 and 18 currently in their care.

While many of us can relate to being a ‘cat person’ or a ‘dog person,’ she said a ‘bunny person’ is someone who has read up on the extra care involved.

“They’re really amazing pets but there is a lot more on the owner’s part that has to be done because they are prey animals,” said Iturregui.

“Unlike a dog or a cat that’s a predator that’s relatively trusting of people, bunny people have to work at gaining their bunny’s trust.”

Iturregui and her team know there’s a dumping situation in the city. They know of a few dumping grounds where people have had to dispose of rabbits.

In a perfect world, she’s said, she is hopeful they could find homes for all their rabbits but added if you’re going to adopt, make sure it’s not just an Easter thing.

“It would also include those people who do adopt, making the commitment, looking up our organization, asking us questions because we are here to promote bunnies, we think they’re great pets,” said Iturregui

“We just don’t want people to be buying them on a whim.”

It is a sentiment shared by other groups, including Pet Save, which said while rabbits make great pets, you have to do your research.

“We still have bunnies that we’ve had up for adoption for the last year or two so they’re very hard to find homes for so we encourage people to try the chocolate bunny for the children and maybe steer clear of the actual bunnies,” said Pet Save director Jill Pessot.

Pet Save has made donations to the Rescue Room to help them with their efforts.

Since its creation last year, Iturregui figures they’ve been able to find 35 bunnies good homes.

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