Well, we've arrived at that time of year again when well-meaning people think it would be a good idea to give a young person a gift of a baby rabbit, duck, chick or other infant animal for Easter. What maybe a good intention is always a bad idea.

We often see advertisements in magazines or papers suggesting Easter bunnies or fluffy chicks. What isn't mentioned is the special needs these creatures require with special food, shelter and protection from other pets or owners. Not to mention that after the novelty wears off in a couple days, these animals still need protection, food and gentle care. A baby chick or rabbit isn't a toy and easily breaks. Also, a rabbit or a chick can live for eight to 10 years and a kitten 14 to 20.

We must think of the burden we place on the shoulders of the recipients of these living gifts. So, in a couple weeks when they are no longer little fluffy animals, but more mature animals with special needs they are often discarded, neglected in a cage where owners can't see them or just let out to fare for themselves. They have no training from their parents on how to survive in the wild. Most end up killed by other animals, (including the two legged oafs we have wandering around looking for trouble) or the kindness of getting hit by a car or used as target practice to mention a few possibilities. Not to mention, the breeding and adding to the many unwanted and uncared-for animals in Ashtabula that so many complain about, but are unwilling to help with correcting the problem.

Please think long and hard before you give a helpless creature as a toy to some unprepared child or burdened parent to care for. What should be a joy and a happy occasion, can turn into a major problem . . . often with a very sad ending for the animal.

Also, a reminder that Easter lilies and other type of lilies such as "rubrum" (stargazer) and day lilies are very poisonous to cats. According to the National Animal Poison Control Center, cats consuming any part of a lily results in the destruction of their kidneys. ; ;Be advised!

Bill Venditti


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