Health Dept.: Downsides of pets as Easter gifts

The Kent County Health Department.
The Kent County Health Department.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Health Department is advising parents to carefully consider before buying their children a live pet as an Easter gift.

Some parents give their children live bunnies or chicks without realizing how long those pets can live or the health and safety issues involved, a Tuesday release from the health department said.

Rabbits can live to be about 10 and chickens live in to their teens, according to the health department.

Furthermore, chickens can spread salmonella, the health department says. Children under the age of five should be supervised if they handle chicks. They should not snuggle or kiss the animals and should wash their hands after holding them.

The Kent County Animal Shelter took in more than 100 rabbits and chickens last year, the health department said.

The health department says a stuffed animal toy may be a more practical gift.

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Online:

Centers for Disease Control on salmonella

ASPCA on plants that are poisonous to pets

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