RSPCA centre in guinea pigs appeal
An animal rescue centre has been inundated with guinea pigs, including 50 from one home.
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA's Ashley Heath Centre, near Ringwood in Hampshire, said it is "full to bursting point" as many of the guinea pigs are heavily pregnant or have given birth recently.
The large influx came from an owner who had allowed the pets to run wild in their garden, leading to the unwanted breeding.
Centre manager Sheila Vernon said: "The centre is now full of guinea pigs and, with many of them heavily pregnant, we are expecting even more in the next couple of weeks.
"We currently have 13 guinea pigs, of various ages and colours which are ready to go to new homes and there will be more once the babies are old enough to be weaned."
Guinea pigs, which can live for up to seven years, are friendly and easily tamed but they require commitment and regular attention. They are social animals, so they will be looking for homes either in pairs or small groups of the same sex.
RSPCA inspector Graham Hammond, who took the animals to the centre, said: "By failing to be a responsible pet owner and preventing their animals from breeding, people are simply passing on the problem to someone else.
"RSPCA animal centres are full of animals which should never have been bred and we are struggling to find homes for them so I would urge people to get their pets neutered and not allow things like this to happen.
"And if people want to take on any kind of pet I would urge them to come to the RSPCA and give a rescue animal a second chance."
Anyone interested in offering some guinea pigs a home should contact the RSPCA's Ashley Heath Centre on 0300 123 0749.