AUSTIN, Texas — A pet bunny for Easter might seem like a cute present, but with any furry friend comes responsibility.
- HRRN has many rabbits needing homes
- Many adopted rabbits end up returned
- Rabbits are third most abandoned pet in the U.S.
On any given day, the House Rabbit Resource Network (HRRN) has about 170 bunnies in need of homes — and 100 more on a waiting list.
Lori Helgren is in charge of the adoption process at HRRN. She makes sure adopters know how to care for their new furry family member, so they don't end up in a shelter.
Bunnies are a popular pet, especially around Easter. But according to the House Rabbit Society, they are also the third most abandoned pet in the U.S.
"People say they need a rabbit quick for Easter. Of course we don't do that because those rabbits will end up coming back," said Helgren.
Despite its policy, about a month after the holiday HRRN will get about 30 rabbits dropped off at its shelter.
"A lot of people aren't going to say this was an Easter present, but we will even get them in from people finding them hopping down the street," said Helgren.
Helgren says many times the novelty has worn off and people don't know the best way to care for their pet. She says the first step is making sure the bunny has an adequate home.
One common misconception is that rabbits aren't active. Rabbits do need an area to stretch their legs and hop around.
Rabbits also need hay for a proper diet, which should be put on a rack above the litter pan.
"Bunnies go to the bathroom, while they eat, so that is going to get the litter pan process going in the right direction," Helgren said.
Pet owners should also realize, just like any pet, bunnies will need a little training.
"They want a lot of love and attention. They want their forever home and to get out of these cages,” said Helgren.