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RSPCA takes in double the number of guinea pigs as two years ago

The RSPCA has revealed the number of guinea pigs coming into its care between January and August has risen by 90 per cent in the last two years*.

The heartbreaking statistics are being released as part of Guinea Pig Awareness Week (26 – 30 September) to raise awareness of the suffering faced by hundreds of small furries.

In the first eight months of 2020 the charity’s front line officers across England and Wales took in 91 guinea pigs, this rose to 111 in 2021 but already this year 173 have come into RSPCA care – an increase of 90%.

In Wales the charity’s officers dealt with 41 incidents relating to guinea pigs in 2021 and from January to August this year 20 incidents. The highest number of calls came from Rhonnda Cynon Taff in 2021 with nine incidents reported.

The RSPCA’s recent research through the Animal Kindness Index found that the cost of living crisis is of huge concern to pet owners with 68% of pet owners concerned that the cost of pet care was increasing and 19% worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets*.

It is feared the cost of living is contributing to the overall rise in animals being neglected and abandoned.

Already this year the RSPCA across England and Wales has had 445 incidents* reported to the charity from people worried about guinea pigs – more than half of these were concerns about neglect (241) and 50 were heartbreaking cases of them being abandoned.

These incidents equate to more than 50 incidents per month involving almost 350 guinea pigs.

As well as guinea pigs the RSPCA is seeing this problem replicated across the country with all species of animal – as part of the charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, the RSPCA has revealed it received more than 100 reports of pets being abandoned every single day throughout 2021.

RSPCA companion animal expert Dr Jane Tyson said: “It’s heartbreaking to think of all the unwanted pets out there, we do sympathise with people struggling at the moment due to the cost of living but we would urge anyone worried about costs associated with their pets to reach out for help.

“Friends, family, local charities, and vet charities can all provide support but it is never the answer to just dump an animal or to let it fall into a state of neglect.

“Sadly many more than we have space for are waiting to come into our centres.

“Guinea pigs are misunderstood animals, they are often bought for children who can lose interest but they have very complex needs and a relatively long life span.

“They are social animals and need plenty of space to roam around in, they can make very rewarding pets but they are a responsibility and a commitment.”