Bunnies and chicks were bestsellers at pet stores during the Easter season years ago, but thanks to increased awareness of the responsibilities of pet ownership, that trend has faded.
At least that's the experience of Brad Spellman, owner of York Pet Supply in York Township.
"Years ago, it tended to be an impulse buy for a lot of people to buy chicks and ducks and bunnies," said Spellman, who has been in the pet business for 43 years. "And now with the Internet and all the information that's out there, I would say we don't sell any more bunnies than we do the rest of the year."
Rabbits are popular year-round, and sales no longer spike at Easter, he said.
This week, York Pet Supply had five rabbits for sale. They sold to five different regular customers, so they will all be in good homes, he said.
One of those regular customers was Lindsey Hess, 30, of Hellam Township, who was buying another pet rabbit for her children.
"We had a rabbit that we bought here before, and she recently passed and our kids were heartbroken, so we wanted to bring another one in," said Hess, whose three children are 5, 2, and 1 year old.
The Hess family also has a pet dog and another rabbit.
"It's not something you just want to dive into if you haven't had them before," said Hess.
"They're a big responsibility," Spellman said. "There's a lot of cleanup involved, and people have to do their homework.
"I don't want someone taking a pet and it ends up at the SPCA or animal rescue," he said. "I want people who are going to keep it and be responsible pet owners."
And the York SPCA does see an influx of rabbits a few months after Easter has passed, said Melissa Smith, executive director of the York County SPCA.
"A few months after Easter has passed, the rabbit becomes a novelty that no
one really wants to care for anymore," Smith said.
She said that at any given time the York SPCA has 10 to 12, if not more, rabbits available for adoption.
Rabbits can live up to 12 years, Smith said.
They have special dietary needs and require exercise, which is something that a lot of people may not think of when purchasing one, said Smith.
"As with any pet, do your research," Smith said. "See if you first of all have an environment that is conducive to the pet you're looking for. Make sure you have the financial capability, and that you're willing to give the pet the exercise it needs and the veterinary needs it has."
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.