As Easter is approaching, we are recommending that live animals are not given as Easter gifts to family members.
Each year, parents and grandparents give in to the pleas of children to purchase them a baby chick, duckling, or bunny. These baby animals are fragile to handle and may be injured or killed by a child.
Once in the home, small animals may bring out the prey instinct in domestic household pets and may be injured or killed.
After these baby animals have matured, they are often placed in outside pens or cages.
If these animals escape from their habitats, they cannot take care of themselves and are subject to disease, animal cruelty, or are often killed by other animals.
Chicks, ducklings, and bunnies require proper housing and care for many years after they develop into chickens, ducks, and rabbits.
If you take home a live animal you have several years of year-round care including feeding and watering, properly maintaining and cleaning pens and cages, and providing protection for each of our changing seasons.
Giving candy and stuffed animals at Easter results in having only empty packages to clean up after the fascination has worn off. Consider this as your provide a happy Easter for your children and grandchildren, but not at the expense of a helpless animal.
PET CARE TIP FOR THE DAY: While you are out for a walk, do not permit people to approach and touch your dog without your permission. Ask them to permit your dog to approach them. If the dog is comfortable making this introduction and the person wants to pet the dog, ask the person to allow the dog to smell the back of their hand and then turn their hand over and pet under the dogs chin. A dog is apprehensive when meeting someone when they reach to touch the top of their head. If the dog is uncomfortable at any time, thank the person for their interest and move away. Do not force your dog to meet someone who makes them uncomfortable or if the situation is uncomfortable for your dog.
If you meet someone who is also walking their dog, you may want to avoid any contact. If you wish to make an introduction, use caution. Make sure at all times that the dogs are under the control of their caregivers.
It is not suggested that you permit your child to be involved in an introduction to another dog. Do not introduce the dogs face to face but from the side. If there is any aggressive behavior, move away from the situation.
Karen Cunningham is president of the St. Lawrence Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.