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Easter bunny horror stories: Resist the urge to give rabbits, ducks, chicks

Easter bunny horror stories are a post holiday tradition, say animal control officials across the US. The cute gifts – rabbits, ducks, chicks – suddenly get abandoned or maltreated because they were impulse buys. Pubescent bunny behavior is not cute; and the fowl mess can be a rude surprise.

Easter bunny horror stories are a post-Easter tradition in the US, say animal control and rescue officials who see an uptick in abandoned rabbits, ducklings, and chicks at Easter and advise against impulse buys. A Muscovy duck named Quasimodo watches two Pekin ducks play in a pool at The Lucky Duck Rescue & Sanctuary in Sun Valley, Calif., August 2011.

Lydia Yasuda/AP

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For Easter, when Lindsay Durfee’s sister-in-law Kelley was young and sweet and wide-eyed, her parents bought her a team of ducklings. Kelley and her family, Ms. Durfee says, lived on a lake in Orlando, Fla., populated with different species of wildlife. 

So, shouldering a video camera to record it, young Kelley marched her Easter ducklings to the water like a drum major. But nature was ahead of her: before she and the ducks reached the edge of the lake, a large bird – probably a heron– swooped down and made off with a duckling by its neck. The gory detail of what happened next is PG-13; but suffice to say, says Durfee, the videotape captured it and Kelley's scream. 

“It's one of those stories that comes up every year,” Durfee wrote in an e-mail to the Monitor. To this day, says Durfee, "My husband and I laugh until we cry over how appalling it is!” 

Pet horror stories are a staple of the post-Easter season in the United States, say animal control and rescue officials. The Easter holiday brings out the duckling, chick, and baby bunny lovers in people. They make an impulse buy, the recipient goes wild with joy for a day, but the honeymoon soon ends and parents scramble to surrender the animals.

Animal rescue staff, traditionally inundated with calls from regretful parents following Easter, are asking consumers to stop and think before buying an animal for Easter, and with good reason.

If, and it’s a big if, the animal doesn’t die from all that Easter excitement, now there’s a growing and soon-to-be mature duck, chicken (worse, a rooster), and rabbit on your hands.


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