Nonprofit warns against giving live animals as Easter gifts

Rabbit at Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center/Christina Dawidowicz FOX21
Rabbit at Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center / FOX21 File Photo

ELLICOTT, Colo. — Live Easter pets have been popular for years now, but 90 percent of them don’t make it past a year.

“Based on my experience, I’m guessing 90 percent of them don’t make it to their second month,” said Donna Ralph, president and licensed rehabber for Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

It’s a problem the nonprofit sees every year after Easter. From chicks, rabbits and even baby geese, these pets quickly become unwanted.

“People will leave them in boxes on the porch and we have to take them to humane society or someplace else, where most of them I think are euthanized,” Ralph said.

It’s why they’re encouraging people to buy plush stuffed animals instead of real animals.

“A lot of people might not realize in Colorado Springs, you’re not allowed to keep some of these animals. And you’re not going to know until they’re older if you have roosters or hens; roosters are illegal,” Ralph said.

Some chicks are even dyed different colors to match the Easter holiday, but Ralph said the process is inhumane.

“These animals do not interact with people like a puppy or a kitten, you know? The chicken does not want to be your friend, doesn’t want to sleep in your bed with you. Once people discover that, which is usually pretty quick, they’re cleaning up after these animals, they don’t want them anymore,” Ralph said.

Ralph said the Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center can’t take in domesticated animals, including chickens, cats and dogs.

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