Think twice before getting a real live Easter bunny

Regina Martin, founder of Hog Heaven Rescue in Cochranton and former humane society police officer, answers some questions and provides information on live animals at Easter.

A rabbit captured by Wrabbit Wranglers, a rabbit rescue group in Pittsburgh, has overgrown teeth that were so long that they curled and broke off while in the trap. If she had not been trapped, she would have died of starvation. The rescue finds that October is its busiest month for capturing rabbits that have been abandoned by their owners. (Submitted)

A rabbit captured by Wrabbit Wranglers, a rabbit rescue group in Pittsburgh, has overgrown teeth that were so long that they curled and broke off while in the trap. If she had not been trapped, she would have died of starvation. The rescue finds that October is its busiest month for capturing rabbits that have been abandoned by their owners. (Submitted)

Question: Would you have any information on why you shouldn’t buy chicks, ducklings or rabbits for Easter gifts?

Answer: I don’t believe any live animal is a good gift for any occasion. Especially as a surprise gift. Most Easter animals are bought for children and after the newness wears off, the rabbit ends up being outdoors due to the odor of the cage not being maintained. Once outdoors, when the children go back to school, the parents get tired of caring for them. They either try to give them away, or just turn them out to fend for themselves.

The rescues find that October is when they are out attempting to trap the domestic rabbits. Wrabbit Wranglers (a rabbit rescue in Pittsburgh) is currently trying to trap a rabbit now from last year’s release.

Q: What is the average life expectancy of chickens, ducks and rabbits?

A: Life expectancy for chickens and ducks are 8-9 years. Chicks and ducklings need a clean area, fresh water and the proper feed for the type of animals. Chicks and ducklings all grow up. Roosters will start to crow and some areas have ordinances against roosters.

Rabbits with proper care can live 10-15 years. Rabbits teeth continue to grow their entire life and need proper food and teeth grinding.

Q: What is involved in their care? (What is needed, cage, companionship etc.)

A: Chickens and ducks all need companions of their own kind. Chickens and roosters can either be contained in a coop with fencing around and over top for protection from predators that will kill the chickens and ducks. These include but are not limited to domestic dogs, foxes, coyotes, hawks and for chicks, cats will hunt them.

For rabbits, the rabbit rescues do not recommend cages but exercise pens as it is easier to be cleaned and better for the general health of the rabbit. If you insist on a cage, the cage needs to be four times the length of the rabbit when lying stretched out fully. They are very easily litter trained and need the litter changed, fresh water, proper feed and socialization.

Rabbit rescues recommend spaying and neutering of the domestic rabbits. Males get dumped from the spraying and mounting and they can get mean. Females also spray, mount and get mean in temperament if not spayed.

The females have 80 percent death rate from cancer in reproductive organs. It has been documented with 4 intact female rabbits and one male – there were 75 rabbits in six months. Rabbit health must be done by an exotic veterinarian and can be expensive. If you choose not to go to an exotic vet, a spay can cost up to $600 and the neuter up to $350. With that being said, once spayed or neutered, the rabbit is an outstanding, loving lifelong pet that makes the initial investment well worth it.

Rabbits need their nails trimmed monthly. And they need to have a substance to help trim their teeth. Rabbits can live alone, if their human companion has the time and dedication to spend the time with them. Rabbits are social animals and need companionship.

Q: What happens when they are let go in the wild? (and why this is not an option)

A: Because we have domesticated them, their natural defense instinct has been bred out and they fall prey to cars, cats, dogs and hawks. Ear mites can cause fatal infections. Again, due to our domestication — they do not know how to eat properly and their front teeth continue to grow.

Q: What are the legal ramifications if someone is caught abandoning domestic rabbits or fowl?

A: Abandonment of any animal falls under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code — Title 18 — Section 5511 and unfortunately is only a summary citation in the state of Pennsylvania.

Q: Any rabbit and or poultry rescue groups that are local?

A: There is E.A.R.S. in Erie and Wrabbit Wranglers located in Pittsburgh. Both are domestic rabbit rescues. The rescues take in dumped rabbits and absorb the costs of care, and have foster homes so the rabbits learn to live in homes.

Martin added that if a wiggly nose, long-eared fur baby is indeed in your future, please contact one of the rescues and adopt an already fixed bunny. That way you will be helping the cause and not becoming a part of the problem.


Clarion PUPS offers tips for a safe, happy Easter

Clarion PUPS wishes everyone a Happy Easter. We would like to share some tips for dog owners to keep in mind during this holiday.ClarionPUPSlogo

1. Easter grass can be dangerous if chewed and ingested.

2. Chocolate contains theobromine which can lead to hyper activity, seizures and elevated heart rate.

3. Sugar substitute Xylitol can cause seizures and liver failure.

4. Easter lilies are toxic if chewed.

5. Easter eggs, plastic or hard boil, can present dangers to pets. People should keep count to make sure all the eggs they have hidden are accounted for. The shells on hard boiled or even rotten eggs can present hazards.

6. Table scraps contain ingredients, spices and fat that can make pets ill.

7. Crowds can be overwhelming to your pet. Please keep them separated if they become anxious.

More information about Clarion PUPS is available on the group’s Facebook page or by calling (814) 764-5580.


Easter Eggstravaganza this Saturday in Clarion

Tri-County Animal Rescue's Easter Eggstravaganza will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, March 19, at the Clarion Tractor Supply. (Submitted)

Tri-County Animal Rescue’s Easter Eggstravaganza will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, March 19, at the Clarion Tractor Supply. (Submitted)

Hop on over to Tri-County Animal Rescue’s Easter Eggstravaganza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, March 19, at the Clarion Tractor Supply.

There will be an Easter egg hunt at 11 a.m. for children ages 10 years old and under, pictures by MAD Photography with the Easter bunny for children and/or pets for $5 a CD, a bake sale for humans and pets, and raffles.  All proceeds benefit Tri-County Animal Rescue Center, 9562 Route 322, Shippenville.

Tri-County is a non-profit organization that exists to support the no-kill rescue, rehabilitation, adoption, rights and welfare of companion animals in Clarion County and surrounding counties.  TCAR also offers spay/neuter programs to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats in our community.

More information is available by calling (814) 918-2032 or online at

Like a “Ted”-e-bear

No matter how you want to describe Ted’s coat – a rich mocha color or perhaps a smoky brown with silver highlights – Ted is a stunningly handsome, athletic dog. Ted landed at the shelter because his owner moved and was required to keep her dogs in an outside kennel. She wanted a better life for them than that, especially during the winter, so she surrendered Ted and his best pal Marley to Tri-County. At the shelter Ted is friendly and well behaved; his favorite activity is playing chase and tag in the big back yard with Marley, the blonde beauty he was surrendered with. Together they are more striking than a Hollywood couple, and loads more fun to watch than a TV, computer or movie screen as they whirl around and chase each other in the yard. Since Ted is a strong, young dog (about 2 years old), he would probably do best in a home without small children. To meet Ted or to audition him for a role in your personal reality show, contact Tri-County Animal Rescue Center on Facebook, call (814) 918-2032, or email:

Odie is young at heartOdietricounty

Whoever coined the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” never met Odie. This spunky, senior Beagle cross now finds himself at a low budget shelter after faithfully loving his owner for years. But Odie is teaching us some new tricks. For one thing, Odie knows how to hold his head up and press on, no matter how many curve balls come his way. That’s because he’s a pro now at taking life’s ups and downs. For Odie, life is good and it doesn’t get any better than some belly rubs and a good snuggle under the covers. Before being left at the shelter, Odie lived happily with cats and small dogs. He loves people of all ages and is completely housebroken. Odie has no idea he is “elderly” now, so he still lives each day with exuberance; he simply doesn’t know how to be any other way! He understands that the best things in life are worth waiting for. If you’re someone who believes in the motto “you can’t keep a good dog down,” then perhaps Odie is waiting for you.

Penny takes life at her own pacePennytricounty

Sweet Penny, a senior German Shepherd, is looking for a retirement time share – meaning now that she is older, Penny has all the time in the world to share with someone just like you. Penny thinks that short walks, the mellow company of others, and a soft spot on the end of the couch while someone rubs her ears is about as perfect as life gets. Even though this stylish gal is up in years she is strong and healthy. In the past Penny enjoyed living with other dogs and cats; she loves people of all ages, and is completely housebroken. If you appreciate the value of an unhurried pace and understand that the best things in life can’t be rushed then perhaps meeting Penny would be perfect timing for you! To meet Penny contact Tri-County Animal Rescue Center on Facebook, or call 814-918-2032, or email:

If you are interested in Ted, Odie or Penny contact Tri-County Animal Rescue Center on Facebook, call (814) 918-2032, or email:


Purr-fect pair



Trouble, a domestic medium hair, is a 3-year-old spayed female. She has the same white and gray coat coloring as her mother and wide green eyes. Trouble and Peanut were brought to the shelter after their beloved owner passed away. Trouble probably earned her name when she was a frisky kitten, but nowadays she’s no trouble at all. She had a lot of fun exploring the cat playroom. Both mother and daughter are looking for a new home and currently share a condo at the Humane Society. We make it easy for you to do the right thing! All animals adopted from our shelter are already spayed or neutered, which the law requires you to have



done upon adoption.

Peanut, a domestic medium hair, is a 4-year-old spayed female. She has a white and gray coat with lovely green eyes and a pink nose. Peanut has a calm disposition and is an indoor-only cat. Shy Peanut is quietly adapting to her current surroundings but would really like a new friend to watch over her and Trouble.

The humane society is located at 286 S. Main St., Seneca. It is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. It is closed Sundays and holidays. More information is available by calling 677-4040 or online at

Pet Vet: Wally’s owner worried limp may mean hip dysplasia

By Jeff Kahler
The Modesto Bee (TNS)
Fran and her 7-month-old dog named Wally are from Eureka. Wally is a large dog, about 80 pounds, and has developed a limp in his right rear leg. She has noticed him limping on and off for about two weeks, and lately it has gotten a bit more severe.
Fran’s not positive, but she thinks she may have noticed a limping on the left rear leg as well. She has heard about hip dysplasia and is worried that Wally may have that disease.
Anytime a dog, especially a larger dog, has lameness in the rear legs, we think about hip dysplasia as a possible cause. Hip dysplasia is a disease process resulting from a malformation of the hip joint. This joint is made up of a ball and a socket that the ball fits into.
In the case of dysplasia, the ball and socket do not properly fit together, resulting in arthritis and changes in the bone, all resulting in pain and lameness. Certainly this is a possible cause of Wally’s lameness. There are, however, other possible causes.
A trip for Fran and Wally to the veterinarian for a physical examination and some radiographs should give us a diagnosis. Another possibility from Fran’s description of Wally’s symptoms is panosteitis.
Panosteitis is a term used in dogs to describe a disease that involves inflammation of the long bones of the body, in essence, the legs.
This disease generally occurs in young, growing dogs of larger breeds and seems to be most common in German shepherds. The disease is characterized by lameness in one or more of the legs. It is common for the lameness to switch from one leg to another, either side to side or front to back or both. The cause of this pain is inflammation inside the effected bones in what is called the medullary cavity.
The long bones are composed of an outside ridged support structure called the cortex, much like the structure of a pipe. Inside this cortex is the medullary cavity, which is filled with, among other things, the bone marrow. It is this area, the medullary cavity, that becomes inflamed with panosteitis.
Diagnosis of panosteitis is usually a straightforward process involving a physical examination to isolate the area of pain and radiographs of the effected area to examine the bone or bones involved. Once diagnosed definitively, panosteitis can be treated with appropriate anti-inflammatory medications to help with the pain.
The really good news about this disease is that dogs will usually get better without treatment. I do, however, prefer to use medication because it helps the dogs feel better.

Please make sure never to give your dog any medications without discussing their use first with your veterinarian. Many of the over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are potentially very harmful to dogs.(Jeff Kahler is a veterinarian in Modesto, Calif. Questions can be submitted to Your Pet in care of LifeStyles, The Modesto Bee, P.O. Box 5256, Modesto, CA 95352.)

All About Animals is a weekly blog that appears on and Interested persons or groups can submit information to More information about the blog is available by contacting Anna Applegate at 677-8364.