The Humane Society of Utah is urging parents to find "substitutes" for the baby rabbits, chicks and ducklings often sold as pets around Easter time.

"Most city-dwelling children don't know how to handle or care for baby fowl or rabbits," said Katharine Brant, society spokeswoman.Brant noted that many of the pets become victims of unintentional but nevertheless cruel abuse.

"Also, these creatures are cute as babies but they grow up to become adult animals with special dietary and environmental needs," Brant said. "Once the novelty of the pet has worn off, few people are willing to make the effort to provide proper care."

The society is urging parents to consider purchasing stuffed toys as an alternative to live baby animals.