Small Pets Abandoned in Shocking Numbers, RSPCA Warns

guinea pig
guinea pig

The RSPCA is calling on people to do their homework before getting a small furry pet, as it reveals a disturbing trend of abandonments across the country.

The animal welfare charity has seen a huge spike in the number of guinea pigs, rats, mice and other small animals coming into its care this year, with many of its centres full of unwanted pets.

The RSPCA says that some of the reasons for the spike in abandonments are the high cost of living, the lack of suitable housing, and the lack of awareness of the needs and behaviour of small pets.

Some of the recent cases of cruelty and neglect that the RSPCA has dealt with include:

Two female guinea pigs dumped in a cage under the stairs of a flat in Sheffield, with only some sawdust, hay and vegetables left for them. They were rescued by the RSPCA and taken to a branch in Manchester, where they were named Momo and Rosie and are waiting for new homes.

“There wasn’t any CCTV in the area, but someone may recognise the cage that they were left in,” said RSPCA animal rescue officer Kate Hetherington.

Two other female guinea pigs left in an open cage in a layby on a busy road in Hertfordshire, with no food or water and soaked by the rain. They were spotted by a passerby who contacted the RSPCA and they were taken to a centre in Southridge, where they were named Spook and Pumpkin. They are being monitored for pregnancy before being rehomed.

“Obviously, whoever left them in that location had no thought for their safety. There are also concerns that a male guinea pig may still be at the property from where these two came from,” said RSPCA animal rescue officer Nick Jonas.

Guinea pigs in cage

Seven ferrets set loose on a farm field in Northumberland, where they could have been attacked by predators or harmed by farm machinery. They were rounded up by the RSPCA and taken to centres in Great Ayton and Hull, where they are looking for new families.

“Fortunately, they were in good condition and we managed to round them up. They were fairly tame and friendly, so it was sad to see they’d been left like this. We are seeing more small animals being abandoned as people cut back. Sometimes landlords are telling tenants they can’t keep them in their properties. Then some people just think it is easy to just get rid of pets like these in such a cruel way,” said RSPCA inspector Lindsey Avery.

The RSPCA has information on its website about how to care for small pets, such as guinea pigs and ferrets, and what to consider before getting one. It also has many rescued animals available for adoption, including a family of guinea pigs at the Manchester and Salford Branch.

Main Photo by Jack Catalano on Unsplash
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