An animal rights group in Phoenix, Arizona is gathering signatures to present to the president of PetsRUs, a nationwide store that sells pet accessories and small pets. "They said they would never sell dogs, cats, or rabbits," said activist Barbara Walters. "Now they're selling rabbits, and it's only a matter of time before they start selling cats and dogs."
She said that there are already too many rabbits in shelters, along with too many cats and dogs. People can get all the rabbits, cats, and dogs that they want at any local shelter, she advised. In addition, she warned that rabbits make terrible pets: they scratch, they bite, they're not people friendly, they don't like to be held or petted, they multiply like "well, like rabbits," and they're high maintenance. She said that people no sooner buy a rabbit than a month or two later they take it out to a field and release it. These house-reared rabbits often die quickly in the wild, she said. Finally, she said, there are plenty of small, independent pet shops that already sell rabbits, so it's not like there's a lack of places to get these so-called pets.
A spokesman said that this was only a trial program for PetsRUs. The Phoenix store was the only store in the state that was selling rabbits. He said that a market survey showed a demand for rabbits, and that PetsRUs was merely trying to satisfy customer needs. If sales were slow, he said, the trial program would probably end. "I don't know what the problem is," he said. "Rabbits are cute, they don't bark, and they eat all the vegetables that your kids refuse to eat."