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Shelters Across California Experiencing Increase in Guinea Pig Intake

This increase is a result of “owner surrenders”.




(PRESS RELEASE) LOS ANGELES — Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) and animal welfare organizations across California are experiencing an uptick in guinea pig populations in their care. Overall, this increase is a result of “owner surrenders,” meaning the pet was relinquished to a shelter. In many cases, unaltered guinea pigs, who were purchased from pet stores, were relinquished with a litter after being housed with the opposite sex. In some cases, they were adopted from the shelter, or came in as stray or lost pets.

“The first wave of the pandemic brought many small pet or ‘pocket pet’ adopters,” said Madeline Bernstein, spcaLA president. “Now we are experiencing another wave, but this time the tide is not in the animals’ favor. Small animals are coming in, but we aren’t seeing as many adopters for them.” The reason most often cited for relinquished pets is loss of housing or the inability to provide care.

The shortage of spay/neuter resources may also be a contributing factor. Many organizations paused spay/neuter programs due to COVID. In addition, not all veterinarians offer spay/neuter services for guinea pigs and rabbits since their surgeries can be higher risk.

Small animal rescues, both city-operated and private, are looking for ways to transition guinea pigs from the shelter to a home. Many have tried identifying animal transport opportunities — moving pets from one city or state to another – to no avail, since shelters across the country in places like Connecticut, Long Island, and Massachusetts are also dealing with their own deluge of guinea pigs and small animals.

“Guinea pigs are so social and fun – they greet our staff with a cacophony of happy coos when it’s time for their morning greens,” said Bernstein. “They do really well in pairs, and many people find they’re a good first pet for kids, with supervision of course.”

What they need most is a loving home. Anyone interested in adopting a guinea pig or rabbit from spcaLA may visit here to begin the adoption process.


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Ana Bustilloz at 323-334-4471, 323-707-1271 cell or by email at [email protected].



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