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Animal welfare charity reports hike in dumping pets – because they cost too much

An animal welfare charity has reported an increase in incidents of heartless abandonment of small and exotic pets – partly due to the rising cost of living.

In the latest episode, five guinea pigs were left for dead on Sunday in a cardboard box dumped at Galway Harbour.

A fisherman who found them phoned Galway Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“They’re absolutely terrified and traumatised. They don’t know what’s happened to them,” Tara Croke, GSPCA cattery and small animal manager, told the Tribune.

“The weather got quite windy and had they not been discovered they could’ve blown into the water,” she said.

It was not an isolated incident. And GSPCA and similar charities nationwide are “seeing a lot of it this year in particular”.

In some cases, pet owners surrender guinea pigs because they are struggling to find rental accommodation that will allow pets. Others are “are struggling with bills”.

“They’re not (expensive to keep) but if you have to make cutbacks, it’s an easy place to start. You have to buy their food; 80% of their diet is hay but you also have to buy pellets. A good quality one would cost you about €40 per bag for a couple of weeks,” she said.

Among the main reasons people surrender or abandon guinea pigs is they’re no longer wanted.

“It’s a novelty for a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, and then children are bored of them,” Ms Croke said.

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