The RSPCA is trying to find homes for more than 200 guinea pigs seized from harmful conditions in Brisbane, following a complaint to the cruelty complaint line last week.
It is believed the guinea pigs were housed in a garage and were being used for commercial breeding.
Mark Townend, chief executive of the RSPCA Queensland, said the animals had been taken into a care centre but now needed homes.
“The problem is there were 200 males and females all mixed up in cages and over the next 60 days we could have a lot more guinea pigs,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Craig Zonca and Rebecca Levingston.
“You could only imagine the living conditions.
“Keeping two or three guinea pigs is okay, but keeping 200 is a lot of work and these people didn’t keep up with the living conditions.”
Guinea pig housing shortage
Mr Townend said the RSPCA also needed donations of hutches to house the animals.
“We’re putting the guinea pigs out to our foster network, but we need additional foster carers and we need to find specialised cages,” he said.
“We prefer rabbit hutches as there is more room for them to move around, but rabbits are illegal in Queensland, so we have to ship them up from down south.
“There are also little igloo houses, which we can use which gives them a little privacy.
“We place water bottles that sit on the edge of the cages too, so we have to buy quite a bit of equipment to keep these animals.”
Hundreds more could be on the way
Mr Townend said currently the biggest worry for the team was how many of the guinea pigs could be pregnant.
“Under council law you can keep three or four guinea pigs with no problem, but this was a residential property and they were breeding them for commercial activity,” he said.
“The 200 is a big worry, but they can easily produce more and we could have 600 to 800 guinea pigs soon because they have all been living together and are not de-sexed.
“They have a month’s gestational period so we feel that there are probably 600 guinea pigs in the making.”
Along with equipment, the RSPCA is welcoming donations of vegetables and pellets to feed the hundreds of guinea pigs.
Mr Townsend said carrots, apples, celery, corn husks and fresh leafy green vegetables and herbs would benefit the animals.