This past weekend, we had our rescue rabbits out at Taltree for a educational event. They had goats and baby chicks as well, for the families to see and interact with, while doing Easter-type crafts and getting their pics taken with the Easter bunny.
Anyway.. for the rescue rabbits. We had them in large dog-type x-pens so that the kids could climb in and pet them. Some kids were great. Some... not so much. We had parents putting their kids in the pens with the rabbits... and disappearing. We saw just about everything out there. Some parents would get in the pens with their kids, and ensure that the kids were being super gentle about petting the rabbits and weren't hurting them, and so on. Some parents were very responsible and very careful with the buns...
...and then this one kid... she was maybe 5 or so, old enough to understand what we were telling her. Her parents put her in one of the pens with two of our rabbits, and she started roughly petting (almost hitting) the rabbits. The three of us (me and two volunteers) kept chorusing "gentle!" So she did stop doing that... and moved onto, putting her hand behind the rabbits and roughly pushing them around the pen. They started hopping away from her, and she started chasing them. Then, she started trying to pick them up. Mind you, these are 6-7 pound rabbits... a 5 year old will have a bit of difficulty actually supporting their entire weight... so needless to say, she dropped both of them, multiple times, from about 2 feet in the air. Oh, and this whole time, we keep telling her, please don't pick up the rabbits. Then, she starts jumping around... and my volunteers step in, and tell her to be careful, as I'm sitting there cringing cause she's totally gonna land on a rabbit. Then, she throws herself to the ground (intentionally -- wrestler style), and almost lands on one of the rabbits.
The entire time this is going on, we're all standing there and telling her, please be careful / don't pick up the buns, be careful jumping / go out of the pen to jump around, BE CAREFUL, and so on and so forth. The parents are talking to the child in a different language, so we don't quite know what they're saying, but if they were at all echoing what we were saying, she wasn't listening in the slightest.
Finally, one of the parents pulled her out of the pen. Thank God. And... wait for it... the mom went to the Taltree staff and COMPLAINED that our one rabbit water bottle was out of water. Now... granted... it was empty. But there was water in it, not 20 minutes prior. The kids getting in and out of the pen were shaking the water bottle and causing it to drip, so we were aware it was getting low, but hadn't seen that it was fully out yet.
Now, don't get me wrong... in case we hadn't been aware, I do appreciate that someone took the time to alert someone (naturally, not us, the rescue, but the staff at the location we were at) that there was no water. However, what irks me about this -- they had no f-ing problem with the kid hopping around, pushing our rabbits, dropping our rabbits, roughly petting / hitting our rabbits, chasing our rabbits, and so on... but out of water?!?! End of world. If her kid had LANDED on our of our rabbits, which she very well could have with her jumping around, it could EASILY have broken the rabbits back. Oh, but THAT must be ok, but our lack of water, for 20 minutes? Oh, totally inexcusable. And I guarantee you, they would have taken no responsibility for that, at all, either... just like they didn't remove their kid from our pens, even after we kept advising to be gentle and such, for over an hour. Ugh.