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Controversy erupts over local "Rent-a-chick" event

Posted at 11:27 AM, Mar 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-06 17:54:41-05

Steve's Wonderful World of Pets in Buffalo say it's a "wonderful Spring Tradition." But dozens of commenters have flooded their Facebook page with comments saying that their "Rent-A-Chick" event should be stopped.

According to the business's event page on Facebook, the program allows families to take care of "a couple of chickens from now until Easter," and then when they're returned, they'll go to a local farmer. A separate post on the business's Facebook page adds that Steve's Wonderful World of Pets will "provide everything you need to take care of a couple of Chickens from now until Easter."

"It's been a very popular program particularly with younger children" Steve's owner Steve Lane said. 

The program has been around for 15 years and had some issues a few years ago. According to the SPCA serving Erie County, Steve's had previously been renting dyed chicks, something that is illegal in New York State. 

"It's not our first go-around with this establishment," Erie County SPCA communications coordinator Gina Browning said, "last time it was dyed baby chicks."

Many Amherst neighbors are also unhappy with the pet store, as they believe this renting should not be allowed.

"It's one of those things that you look at and go are you kidding me?" animal lover Danielle Grek said, "Is this real?" 

Grek is not the only one opposed to the promotion. The Facebook page for Steve's has been bombarded with negative comments. 

"This is a horrible act of animal cruelty," one commenter on Facebook posted. "This is a joke right?? Disgusting," another wrote. Several commenters have reached out to 7 Eyewitness News to say their posts and comments have been deleted.

According to state law, "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 foul or baby rabbits during the time they are in the possession of such person." The law also says that baby chicks under the age of two months cannot be sold in any quantity less than six.

The law doesn't specifically mention rentals.

Steve's Facebook event page doesn't specify the age of the chicks being rented.

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