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March 22, 2013

The Humane Society of the United States Offers Pet Tips for Easter and Springtime

This spring, as people prepare to celebrate Easter or go on spring vacation, The Humane Society of the United States offers some tips to keep pets safe and happy.

Baby chicks and rabbits are not Easter gifts: Bringing a new pet into your home is a serious commitment that should only be made if your family is prepared to provide lifelong care for the animal. Some local and state laws regulate the ownership of animals like chickens and ducks, and those animals are not always appropriate pets. If you are sure about making this Easter the time to get a new family pet, The HSUS asks you to adopt from your local animal shelter. Animal shelters are full of sweet, loving pets looking for homes, including many cute rabbits and other adorable animals. Another consideration would be giving children a plush toy or a dark chocolate rabbit.

“Unless your entire family is committed to a pet who will need proper socialization, care and companionship for many years, think twice before adding a baby animal to your Easter celebrations,” said KC Theisen, The HSUS’ director of pet care issues.

After cats and dogs, rabbits are the animals most frequently surrendered to animal shelters, largely because people acquire them as youngsters but aren’t prepared for the long-term commitment involved. Others are simply released into backyards by people who mistakenly believe they will be able to fend for themselves. Unlike wild rabbits, domestic pet rabbits cannot survive on their own outdoors. Chickens also need dedicated, consistent care and far too many of them end up in shelters, rescues and sanctuaries as well.  TheShelterPetProject.org or PetFinder.com lists rabbits, chickens and other pets already in local shelters and rescues waiting for a new home.

The HSUS’ resources on rabbit care and adopting and caring for backyard chickens can help you decide whether a rabbit or a chicken is the right pet for you. 

Vacationing this spring? Avoid air travel with your pets: The HSUS encourages everyone to consider their pets’ travel needs carefully before departure day arrives. If at all possible, drive with your pets on your spring adventures or leave them at home with a trusted caretaker, as air travel can be dangerous for pets. Cargo space in an airplane is not designed to meet the needs of a dog, and many pets are lost or injured annually during air travel.

If you must take your pet with you in the air, consult the Department of Transportation’s airline pet transport performance records for detailed information. Pets traveling in the airplane cabin must be screened through TSA outside of their carrier, so cats and dogs should wear a metal-free harness and leash during the security process. Passengers can also request secondary screening in a room with a door to reduce the risk of accidental escape.

Make travel easier by practicing with your pet’s accessories before you leave. Whether driving or flying, introduce the leash, carrier and other new items well in advance, using lots of praise and treats. Practice putting the harness and leash on at home and walk around a bit. This can reduce anxiety and make travel day much less stressful for both pets and their people.

Media Contact:
Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440 rcontreras@humanesociety.org              

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