SCOTTSDALE, AZ – A Valley rabbit rescue group has a warning for parents thinking of giving a bunny as an Easter gift this year.

Bunny_20120403113933_640_480Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue says rabbits are high maintenance animals requiring more work than cats and dogs.

Rabbits can live to be 10 years old and cannot survive outside in the Arizona summer heat, the group said in a news release.

The organization goes on to say that most rabbits do not like to be held and may scratch and bite if frightened.

“People soon tire of their “novelty” bunny and simply set them free in neighborhoods,” explained Kim Dezelon, Director of Fundraising. “If they are the lucky ones, they are rescued and ultimately find lifelong, loving homes.”

They say shelters in the Valley are overflowing with discarded domestic rabbits. Anyone thinking of providing a lifelong home for a domestic rabbit is urged to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization.

Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue houses over 140 domestic rabbits at any given time, saying most of them are “Easter dumps.”

Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue observes an Easter moratorium on adoptions from April 1 to April 13.

So think chocolate, or stuffed bunnies, when you’re picking up gifts for Easter this year.