The RSPCA is urging animal lovers to think carefully before buying a small furry as a ‘starter pet’ for their children as they revealed they are rescuing 340 of them a month.
Rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, ferrets, chinchillas, hamsters are often seen as an easy, first pet for children. However, it’s important to remember small does not necessarily mean simple as they can have complex needs.
Across England and Wales last year, the RSPCA rescued 4,081 rabbits and other small furries from cases of cruelty, neglect, and abandonment – 91 from County Durham.
“Many people think the RSPCA only rescues and rehomes cats and dogs but this is not the case. We see thousands of small furries coming into our care every year and often this is as a result of owners being unable to cope with caring for these animals who they thought would be easy to look after.” Dr Jane Tyson, the RSPCA’s rabbit and rodent welfare expert, explained.
Jane added: “Small furries can make great pets but they are often very misunderstood. One of the biggest issues we see with small pets such as these is people taking them on with little or no research, often buying them on impulse because their children have asked for them. This can lead to families struggling to cope once they realise the large amount of time, money and care these animals actually need.
“It used to be a common sight to see a lone rabbit in a small hutch at the bottom of the garden or a hamster in a tiny cage in the corner of a child’s bedroom but hopefully these images are consigned to the past and people realise that these complex animals need so much more than that.”
This Adoptober the RSPCA is shining a light on rabbits and small furries in its care which are looking for homes. Last year (2018) the RSPCA rehomed 2,752 rabbits.
In 2018, 282 incidents involving rabbits and other small furries were reported to the RSPCA in County Durham.
While many of the 44,000 animals the charity rehomes every year, are snapped up by new families within just a few weeks, others can spend much longer patiently waiting for their fur-ever home.