04/20/2014 10:31 EDT | Updated 06/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Montreal SPCA urges fostering Easter bunnies before buying

Celebrating Easter may be an enticing reason to get a pet rabbit for some families, but the folks at the Montreal SPCA are strongly advising against it.

The SPCA says more than 260 rabbits end up abandoned on its doorstep once Easter has come and gone. So the agency is encouraging people who want to have a bunny around for the holiday – but who can’t necessarily commit to taking care of one long-term – to foster a rabbit instead.

That’s what the Desrochers family was doing on Saturday.

“This way we can have it, to see if we like having the rabbit,” said Michel Desrochers, who stopped by the SPCA with his two children to adopt a camel-coloured Endy. “It looks pretty good so far!”

He said the family adopted a cat from the SPCA in 2010, and he supports the animal shelter’s work.

For a $100 deposit, the SPCA provides bunny foster parents with a cage, food, a guarantee the animal is sterilized and tips on how to take care of the rabbit.

“They cannot live in a cage 24/7. They need a minimum of four hours of exercise a day, so you do have to make sure that the room or the environments they're living in is secure for a rabbit. So make sure that your wires are protected because they will chew on them,” said Anita Kapuscinska of the SPCA.

The SPCA’s program was so successful that by Easter Sunday morning, all its rabbits had been placed in foster care. Kapuscinska is encouraging people to give a chance to guinea pigs, degus (chinchilla-like rodents) and cats instead.