A PET shop says it will not sell rabbits to customers over the Easter break. 

Jollyes, which has a store at Turner Rise in Colchester, has taken the decision to protect pets. 

The temporary bunny ban started on Thursday and will run until Monday. 

The firm says it will remove the temptation of impulse purchases and prevent the risk of unwanted bunnies being abandoned after Easter.

Jollyes commercial director, Chris Burns, said: “Rabbits are one of our most popular pets, but a bunny is not just for Easter and we don’t want to see these lovely animals abandoned once the holiday is over.

“Rabbits are very intelligent and a lot of fun, but they can live for over ten years so it is a big commitment and we encourage people to do their research and make sure they know what’s involved.” 

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In previous years Pets at Home has also banned the sale of rabbits over Easter. 

The news comes as the RSPCA says it has seen a huge influx of rabbits and small pets whose owners can no longer care for them.

In the last three months the charity has received reports about 150 abandoned rabbits, 78 dumped guinea pigs and 51 abandoned hamsters. 

There were also 2,528 abandoned rabbits and other small pets reported to the RSPCA’s cruelty line since the lockdown began in March 2020.

With a huge surge in interest for pet ownership during the lockdown, the charity is concerned that some people may be buying pets on impulse.

There is typically a spike in families wanting to buy or rehome rabbits over Easter so the RSPCA is urging owners to please do their research before committing to a pet.

Dr Jane Tyson, RSPCA rabbit and rodent expert, said: “This Easter and beyond we are urging people not to buy a rabbit, or any pet, on an impulse as sadly many people may not realise what is involved in caring for them.

"Small doesn’t necessarily mean easy and we’re already beginning to see the impact of the lockdown with owners struggling to care for their small pets.

"We’d always ask prospective owners to please do their research and make sure they have the time, money and resources to be able to care for that animal for the rest of their lives.”