RSPCA blasts “reckless and callous” act after 11 guinea pigs abandoned in Bramshaw Woods, Nomansland
The RSPCA has blasted the abandonment of 11 guinea pigs left in the New Forest as “completely reckless and callous”.
Four adults and seven babies were discovered in gorse bushes near Bramshaw Wood car park on 21st September.
Although they were wet, the pets were in good health, said the RSPCA, who were alerted to their plight by dog walker Julie King.
She said: “When one of my customers called me I went immediately to the location with a couple of cat baskets to collect the guinea pigs.
“It was distressing to see, as some of the babies were only a day or two old, so anything could have happened to them.
“One of the mothers is just two to three months old and she already has two babies.”
Julie returned to her home, putting the animals in a large run in her garden while she awaited the RSCPA.
Inspector Graham Hammond, who attended the incident, said: “The person who abandoned these vulnerable animals left them under two open wooden arches with only a pile of pellets and some carrots.
“It was a completely reckless and callous act.
“Nearby there would have been dogs off-lead and foxes too, so they would have stood no chance of fending for themselves had they not been picked up.”
The incident is the latest in a spate of guinea pig abandonments, said the RSPCA, with its animal centres left packed with unwanted small animals – an increase of 37% compared with the same period last year.
Mr Hammond continued: “This is nothing new unfortunately – we saw similar abandonments in pre-Covid times – but now it seems the cost of living is having a big impact, and incidents like this are all too common.
“We suspect this incident may be as a result of accidental breeding which has got out of hand, and the owners have quickly found they have a large number of guinea pigs.
“There are two litters, and one of the mothers may be pregnant again.
“Sexing guinea pigs is so important to make sure they don’t multiply. Pet shops should be correctly sexing young guinea pigs, selling same-sex pairs or advising owners about the importance of speaking to their vets and organising timely neutering, but they often don’t do that and we get to this stage.”
He added: “Thankfully, these guinea pigs were discovered quickly and rescued by a local dog walker, who is only too happy to rehome them, with our guidance.
“We have given her advice on the welfare issues that their new owners must consider, such as providing appropriate-sized accommodation and the correct feeding regime.”
Owners are advised to check their guinea pigs’ health weekly by examining teeth, ears, nose, eyes, body shape and feet.
A varied diet of fresh hay, pellets, fresh greens and water should be provided, as well as large enough accommodation.
The RSPCA’s small animals welfare expert, Dr Jane Tyson, said owners need to make sure the general welfare needs of guinea pigs are catered for, especially making sure they have the right environment to live in and that they have plenty of space to exercise and explore as well as having plenty of toys to help prevent boredom.
As part of Guinea Pig Awareness Week owners can download a free guide on caring for the animals.
For information visit www.guineapigawarenessweek.com
To rehome an animal visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet