Springtime’s “Disposable Pets”
Every year at Easter time, those cute, fluffy, furry animals associated with spring-chicks, ducklings and rabbits-experience the onslaught of consumer demand and can be had for a few dollars as toys for children or used as “props” in portrait studios. In many areas of the country it is illegal to keep these kinds of animals as pets, and so they may be dumped in the woods or in a pond with the thought that they can “revert to being wild,” which they cannot, or given up and often euthanized at an animal shelter. These domesticated species cannot fend for themselves and will die if released into the wild. In addition, baby chicks or ducks can carry Salmonella, which can be extremely dangerous for kids.
Guess who gets called? Last year our phone was ringing off the hook. It taxes our resources and it can be difficult to adopt out large numbers of baby animals.
This Easter, instead of giving a live animal, consider giving a stuffed animal-they’re cuddly, cute, and easy to care for. Children lose interest quickly, and “Easter animals” may live ten years or longer. If you hear of teachers planning to raise an animal in the classroom, please intervene and discourage this practice — our let us know and we’ll contact them ourselves.
Be aware also that it is illegal in NY State (NY State Agriculture and Markets Statue 354) for a pet shop to sell water fowl in quantities of less than six — this is to discourage impulsive purchases but the law is frequently ignored by shop owners. If you see a pet store selling individual chicks or ducklings, please contact the NY Department of Health.