Animal charity launches campaign to halt neglect of guinea pigs
THE RSPCA has launched a campaign to try and halt the rise in the number of pet owners who abandon their guinea pigs.
Latest figures from the animal charity show more than 300 guinea pigs were abandoned so far this year - already triple the number dumped last year.
The RSPCA believes one of the major causes of guinea pigs being neglected is a misconception that they are easy to look after or that they can be a child’s first pet.
New statistics show that between January and the end of August this year there were 338 guinea pigs abandoned and rescued by RSPCA officers. This compares to just 112 which were rescued and abandoned in the whole of 2016.
Dr Jane Tyson, RSPCA’s scientific officer for companion animals, said: “Just because these animals are small in size does not mean that they are any less of a commitment. They have their own specialist needs and require lots of care and attention.”
Dr Tyson added: “Guinea pigs need access to a secure shelter and an exercise area for them to run around and play.
“Guinea pigs are highly social animals and in the wild live in close family groups of up to ten individuals.
“As pets they prefer to be with at least one other piggy and can develop abnormal behaviours if they are left without company.
“They communicate using around eleven different noises and chatter their teeth as a warning signal which could mean they are feeling angry, unhappy or frustrated and may need more space.”
To rehome any of the small animals in the care of the RSPCA, visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet