When you think about pets being abandoned it is probably dogs and cats which first spring to mind. But our smallest furry friends are also abandoned in great numbers every year. The RSPCA has released its latest figures which show that a disturbing number of smaller pets are regularly cast aside by their owners.
Abandoned Pets in 2016
In 2016, the RSPCA took in 1,029 small animals which had been abandoned. These included rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, degus, rats, ferrets, mice and gerbils. The figures were up on the previous year and there have already been more than 400 small animals dumped in 2017. In one recent incident, 13 rabbits were abandoned at the same time in Blackpool.
Longview Animal Centre in Poulton-Le-Fylde near Blackpool discovered 13 rabbits dumped in a large cardboard box outside its reception. The rabbits were a mix of ages and breeds with the youngest being just eight-weeks-old. The manager, Hannah Kirrane, said: “The rabbits were suffering from eye infections and they were very poorly and confused when found.”
Sadly, two of the rabbits were so ill that they could not be saved and were put down following veterinary advice. The rest of the rabbits have recovered and are looking for new homes. Staff reviewed CCTV footage at the centre which revealed a man dumping the rabbits and then leaving in a car but the number plate wasn’t visible and so it has not been possible to identify the guilty party.
Rats and Guinea Pigs
The latest statistics show that rats and guinea pigs are the second and third highest of the small furry animals to be abandoned. 178 domestic rats and 112 guinea pigs were abandoned last year. The RSPCA also rescued 77 hamsters after they were dumped.
Why are so Many Small Pets Cast Aside?
Unfortunately, inexperienced people believe that small pets will be easy to care for and will not make serious demands on their time or their wallet. Children often beg for a pet, the parents then think that the small furry animals are the perfect solution. The kids grow tired of the animals and lose interest and the parents discover that their furry friends are not as easy to look after as they had thought. The animals are then dumped because their owners no longer want to look after them.
It’s a familiar story which is repeated time and time again up and down the country. It is vital that prospective owners investigate all the implications of owning an animal before they welcome even the smallest pet into their homes. Pets have a habit of taking over your life so it is important that their owners relish looking after them and have the resources to provide the right food and shelter. It is all too easy to be seduced by a cute bunny!