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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 March, 2004, 16:59 GMT
Centre overrun with guinea pigs
An RSPCA animal home has so many guinea pigs it has run out of places to keep them.

West Hatch Companion Animal Centre, near Taunton, is caring for more than 30 guinea pigs, some of them pregnant.

Their purpose-built accommodation is full and guinea pigs are being kept in an adapted aviary and in some rabbit enclosures.

There is also a waiting list of guinea pigs, whose owners are no longer able to care for them.

West Hatch deputy manager, Anita Clark, said: "In order to be able to take in more unwanted guinea pigs, we urgently need to find new homes for the ones we have."

Home checks

She said finding new homes for guinea pigs and other small domestic animals was a constant problem.

The RSPCA believe this is partly because people do not generally associate them with their animal homes in the same way that they do cats or dogs.

Ms Clark said: "The problem is when people are looking for a guinea pig, their first thought is usually a pet shop.

"We want people to realise that the RSPCA does have guinea pigs and other small animals and we are always keen to find good homes for them."

Because guinea pigs are sociable they are usually homed in pairs.

Before being given animals by the RSPCA, people are required to undergo a home check to ensure they can offer a suitable environment plus the care and attention required.

Web search for pet homes
17 Feb 03  |  England

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