Every year after Easter, Fairhaven Animal Control Officer Terry Cripps, who also serves as director of the Fairhaven Animal Shelter, rounds up bunnies in the Fort Phoenix area. The bunnies were Easter gifts to kids. When the kids get bored with them, the bunnies are turned loose in the wild by parents who don't want or need the added responsibility of caring for them.

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Cripps said the sad part is these bunnies were born in captivity and have never had to fend for themselves.

"They are not wild bunnies, and they are not going to survive," he said.

He added that domesticated bunnies "don't have the instinct to run" in the face of danger and are "too big and heavy" to get far if they did.

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Cripps rounds up the bunnies and takes them to the shelter, where they are cared for until permanent homes are secured. The cost of caring for the animals usually comes from generous donors.

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Other Easter bunnies are simply brought to the shelter.

"If they buy the bunny for Easter, it is often in the shelter by Mother's Day," Cripps said.

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Cripps said once selfies are taken with the bunnies on Easter morning, the animals quickly lose their appeal.

Cripps reminds parents who might want to buy a bunny as an Easter gift that the animals will require regular visits to the veterinarian. He said not to adopt a bunny "unless you are prepared to make a ten-year commitment."

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It's not just bunnies. Cripps says many parents "think it's so cute" to buy baby chicks for their kids as Easter gifts. Many chicks die fairly quickly after the holiday is over.

Cripps said if parents want to teach their kids to be responsible, don't buy them a bunny or a chick, but rather teach them to clean the bathroom once a week.

That sounds like sound advice. Stick to stuffed bunnies instead.

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OneGreenPlanet.Org agrees with Cripps' assessment, as does the House Rabbit Society.

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