West Midlands in top three counties for abandonment of pet guinea pigs

Pictures show Fudge (lighter colour) and Milo who were rescued by the RSPCA inspectorate in the Manchester area after being kept in totally inappropriate plastic boxes as housing. Credit: RSPCA

The West Midlands is the third worst county for abandonment of pet guinea pigs in the UK, according to a report by the RSPCA.

The animal welfare charity says frontline officers and inspectors have already dealt with 272 incidents relating to guinea pigs this year alone - 77 of those cases were in the West Midlands.

It comes after a time when the country saw a surge in pet ownership throughout lockdown. 

There was a 68% increase in visitors to the RSPCA’s ‘find a pet’ page searching for guinea pigs in 2020 when compared with 2019.

Between March and August 2019 there were 61,863 searches for guinea pigs and in the same time frame when the country was in lockdown in 2020 there were 103,703 searches.

The charity fears they may be seeing the start of repercussions from the increase in pet ownership during lockdown.

Credit: RSPCA

RSPCA animal welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson said: “Sadly guinea pigs, along with other small companion animals like rabbits and hamsters, are very misunderstood. 

“We do see instances of abandonment and neglect every year and even in 2020 and 2021, this was no exception.

“What is concerning is that before we have even reached the peak of the summer months our inspectors are already seeing hundreds of incidents involving Guinea pigs, and with many people still at home it is surprising that this is still happening already. 

“There is support available for owners who feel they cannot cope, abandoning an animal or subjecting them to a life of neglect is never the answer. We would encourage anyone struggling to reach out to family and friends, charities and to make their vet aware that they need help.”

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