Today is Guinea Pig Appreciation Day and the RSPCA is highlighting the neglect and cruelty suffered by one of Britain’s most popular family pets.
Already this year (up to July 3) 250 guinea pigs have been reported as abandoned to the RSPCA with 1,402 reported to the RSPCA over the last three years.
In 2016, complaints of abandoned guinea pigs reached its peak with 506 being reported to the charity, in 2015 this was 437 and last year it reached 459.
Pet welfare expert at the RSPCA, Dr Jane Tyson, said: “Guinea Pigs are one of the most misunderstood animals owned by households in Britain today. Sometimes they are housed with rabbit, which is a completely inappropriate way to keep them, and may be kept in accommodation that is far too small to meet their welfare needs.
“Rabbits and Guinea Pigs are traditionally seen as appropriate pets to buy a child but they actually have very complex welfare needs and serious thought must be given before committing to getting any pet. Sadly once people realize the reality of owning them they can become quickly bored and that is one reason why we end up in a situation where our inspectors are having to collect neglected animals.”
A poorly guinea pig who was underweight and suffering from an infected eye was lucky to survive after being dumped at the side of a road in Wolverhampton.
He was discovered by a passerby in a cardboard box with the words “Doe – very tame” written on the side. The RSPCA collected the poorly guinea pig and he is now being treated at the animal welfare charity’s Gonsal Farm Animal Centre in Shropshire where staff have called him Elliott.
If you think you can offer a loving forever home to a guinea pig you can see all the details on the RSPCA’s ‘find a pet’ page.