Local pet shop is RENTING out chicks for Easter – My only question is WHY

March 6, 2018

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

It’s not cute. At least not in my opinion.

Renting out a tiny animal just for your kid to play with for a few weeks just seems cruel. Yet, Steve’s Wonderful World of Pets on Sheridan Drive does just that. They aren’t dyed – even though it may seem the case from the photos on their Facebook page. I called the store to get the details for this article and was told the chicks do come in different colors, but browns, tans, yellows – not artificial – just the colors they were born with.

You can rent one – from now until the day after Easter for $39.99, plus a $10 deposit. The chick comes with everything you would need to care for them. Heat lamp, food, bedding and a pouch.

Returned chicks, according to the store, go to a farmer.

Look, my kids are very gentle and sweet. They’re 6 and 3 – and they’re good girls. BUT – I can’t imagine what would happen to a teeny, tiny baby chick in their hands for a week. Small children just don’t realize how rough they are sometimes.

There are MANY comments on Steve’s Facebook Page from folks against the idea – and it appears many others have been deleted.

I’m in the NO WAY group with this one. What do you think??


Statement from Erie County SPCA regarding this



This year does not mark the SPCA Serving Erie County’s first experience with a local establishment concerning the leasing of live, baby chicks as a means of celebrating the season.

The reason the matter isn’t already settled once and for all is because, despite what the SPCA unequivocally believes is ethically and morally wrong, we must abide by a vague, unclear law that only specifies the sale, offer for sale, bartering, or giving away of live chicks as opposed to the “renting” or “leasing” loophole. New York State law reads as follows, from https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ny-cruelty-consolidated-cruelty-statutes :

” § 354. Sale of baby chicks and baby rabbits
1. No person shall sell, offer for sale, barter or give away living baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or baby rabbits unless such person provides proper brooder facilities where appropriate for the care of such baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or baby rabbits during the time they are in the possession of such person. For the purposes of this section, a baby rabbit shall be a rabbit of less than two months of age.
2. No person shall sell, offer for sale, barter or display living baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or baby rabbits which have been dyed, colored or otherwise treated so as to impart to them an artificial color.
2-a. No provision of subdivision two shall be interpreted or applied to prevent or restrict teachers and qualified instructors of youth under the guidance and supervision of the New York state cooperative extension service from using eggs for non-profit educational purposes or from observing fowl hatched from such eggs for non-profit educational purposes.
3. No person shall sell, offer for sale, barter or give away living baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl or baby rabbits under two months of age in any quantity less than six.
4. A violation of the provisions of this section is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars, or by both. ”

By “renting” or “leasing” a chick, this practice, considered inhumane by many animal welfare organizations throughout the nation for good reason, is perpetuated.

If you are considering engaging in a live animal rental program, please consider the following, or consider asking the following questions:

-Where did all of these chicks that are being “leased” come from? What is the specific breeding location, and can I contact their representatives?

-These are fragile creatures and people are generally untrained on how to handle them. Do you provide training on how to handle such animals?

-What happens if a chick dies in a family’s care (attacked by another animal, mishandled, not housed or fed properly, etc.)?

-What happens if a chick is not returned, besides the loss of a $10 deposit? What if animal cruelty is suspected?

-What are the names of the farms accepting the chickens? Where are these farms? Who are the farmers? When are the chicks sent to them and how are they transported?

-Who is caring for them before and after the “leasing” period? Are these people trained in caring for such animals and how?

-Each year, how many “leased” chicks are returned and how many chicks are not returned? How many chicks do not survive the “leasing” period? Are there any official records reporting this, or is it just someone’s statement? Are these records seen by anyone other than staff?

-What screening is done by the shop to ensure the animals are going to homes in which they have the greatest chance of being treated responsibly?

By posting this statement, the SPCA is not appealing to a dealer who, in our opinion, appears to value novelty and legal loopholes over animals’ lives, but we do appeal to those who are innocently helping to keep this scheme alive by renting these chicks…just because there is at the moment no legal stance to stop a practice doesn’t mean the practice is right. There are other ways to teach children about animals without risking the lives of the animals, and without planting a seed that these live animals are playthings that are discardable with no need to be properly housed, even temporarily.



About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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