Content provided by Louisville Metro Animal Services
Protect Pets from Holiday Hazards and Watch Out for Wild Rabbits!
(LOUISVILLE, April 19, 2011) – When the flowers start to bloom, and grass and trees turn green, new baby animals also start to appear. Metro Animal Services (MAS) offers advice on three springtime topics.
Even while giving baby animals to young children may seem sweet and cute, the number of animals relinquished to MAS or who are left to fend for themselves outdoors increases significantly each year after Easter. Young, adorable animals mature quickly into adults and need daily care for the rest of their lives.
“People often don’t consider the level of financial commitment, special daily care and time these animals require,” said Jackie Gulbe, assistant director for community relations for Metro Animal Services. “Animals associated with Easter, like ducks, chicks and rabbits can be especially challenging. They require specific kinds of care, and are not as always as interactive as many other pets.”
Some animals given as gifts are released into the wild when people tire of them. However, the animals are unable to fend for themselves and usually die of starvation or exposure to the elements, or are preyed upon by other animals.
Instead of purchasing a live animal, MAS suggests giving plush toys as gifts for Easter or taking the entire family to the Animal House Adoption Center to choose a new family addition.
• Some plants, the famed Easter lily in particular – are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if eaten. For more on common poisonous plants, go to www.hsus.org.
• Basket décor, including plastic grass, is another danger to animals if ingested. The plastic grass can become twisted within a pet’s intestines and can be fatal if not caught quickly enough. The only solution is often expensive surgery.
• Keep candy out of your pet’s reach. Candy can be harmful to pets and chocolate is toxic to cats, dogs, and ferrets.
Watch for Real-life Peter Cottontails
As the weather warms up, be on the lookout for rabbits in the wild. In Kentucky, cottontail rabbits breed from February through early fall. This species is most often seen in yards and gardens. To avoid disturbing rabbit nests, walk over your lawn before mowing. Carefully mow at least six feet around any suspected nests. A rabbit that is at least four inches long with open eyes and erect ears is independent and able to fend for himself. Otherwise, these young rabbits are visited by their mothers a few times a day and need the food and care they bring.
If you find or disturb a rabbit nest, you can determine whether the bunnies are orphans by gently placing an “X” of string or yarn across the nest. If the “X” has been moved 12 hours later, rest assured the mother is looking after her bunnies.
Metro Animal Services is Kentucky’s largest animal protection organization. It handles more than 26,000 complaints per year and receives over 14,000 animals annually.