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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Animal care officials are urging people not to buy live rabbits or baby chicks for Easter. Parents with small children usually get the ‘gifts’ because they think it would be great to for a child to have a tiny chick or bunny.

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According to animal services worker Lisa Norwood, adults need to remember the animals won’t stay cute and tiny forever. Rabbits reach maturity in less than a year and that’s generally when adults begin to reconsider having them as pets. Norwood says, “In six months when they’re not cute or pink anymore parents think they can just dump them off.”

Officials with the Humane Society of the United States estimate that roughly 80-percent of bunnies bought as Easter gifts are ultimately abandoned, taken to animal shelters, or given away to other families.

It’s also important to note that when bunnies or chicks are dumped in the wild, it’s essentially a death sentence. The animals are domestic specie and won’t be able to fend for themselves. Experts say they usually die or starvation or are preyed on by other undomesticated/wild animals.

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SPCA officials say baby rabbits, chicks and ducks all require dedicated, consistent care and advise that caring for the animals is almost as much work as caring for a puppy.

Norwood says that in recent years there’s also been a disturbing trend of chemically changing bunny’s color from white to pastels for Easter. “A lot of people will go and dye them, which is against the law, and sell them on the side of the road… another thing that is illegal,” she said.

Animal-welfare advocates say instead of live animals, give children a plush toy or a chocolate rabbit or chick.

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