What's Wrong with Purchasing a Rabbit at a Pet Store?
Pet stores may be a logical place to get a rabbit. After all, they sell supplies and you would assume the staff are knowledge about everything pet related, and who would open a pet store if they weren't passionate about animals?
Unfortunately this is not always the case. Just as there are puppy mills, there are also rabbit mills. Hundreds of unweaned babies are taken too early from their mothers, loaded up in trucks and shipped around the country. Many of them do not survive the trip, and others become ill and die in the stores. The staff do not always know very much about rabbits and misinform their customers. They may say the bunnies eat hay and carrots and will pick out a cage for them, not realizing that the baby still needs milk. Nor do they adequately inform their customers as to what to expect as the babies grow older. Will they get bigger? Will they chew? Do they need to be spayed and neutered?
Although many cities such as Los Angeles have banned the sale of animals by commercial breeders in pet stores, and instructing them to sell animals obtained exclusively through rescues and shelters, many pet stores do not sell the right products or have the staff properly trained to provide accurate information to customers about proper bunny care.
Thousands of unweaned rabbits are purchased at pet stores, swap meets and street corners (which is illegal in Los Angeles) every year across the country, and many of them do not live to see their first year. The owners realize how much work they are or children lose interest in them, and the bunnies are either given away, surrendered to shelters or irresponsibly released in the wild where the majority of them die of starvation or predators.
Please do consider carefully whether owning rabbits will fit your lifestyle. They make wonderful pets, but they are not for everyone. If you do decide to open your home to a pair of bunnies, please adopt! Rabbits are the most euthanized animal in American shelters today. Help give an unwanted bunny a chance!