Finding a Responsible Rescue

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Post   » Sat Mar 08, 2003 3:01 am

What do you consider at risk?

--a pig in danger of being euthanized?
--a pig in danger of becoming snake food because of low adoption fees?
--a pig who is getting mouse food and no hay or veggies?
--a pig who is not being treated for a medical condition?

Just curious. I'm sure everyone will have different answers.
I'd consider all of these a risk. I'd also worry that one of the shelter volunteers forgot to feed them at all because they were too busy walking the dogs. Or that they're being housed in a cage with cedar chips.

As long as I have the room and the capability to take care of another cavy, I'd rather take it in then let it face the "shelter sweepstakes."

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Post   » Sat Mar 08, 2003 4:43 am

Slinky, are you a rescue? I can't keep up with who's who.

Bottom line, it depends on the shelter. If you continue to take in pigs that may be living in marginal circumstances, you will be overwhelmed in time. Common sense should prevail.

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Post   » Sat Mar 08, 2003 7:42 am

I think it may also depend on the number of guinea pigs generally in the area. Some people have a hard time finding pigs at all meaning they may be more proactive just to help doing a better job caring and placing the few they find.

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Post   » Sat Mar 08, 2003 12:28 pm

I agree. It depends on your situation, your shelters, your supply and demand.

But it seems that all over the country, the issue of burnout is universal. Over time --in most places-- there are more homeless guinea pigs needing rescue than can be accommodated by the local rescuer. Prioritizing and setting standards is important. Also, rescuers should be in a position to help out other rescuers in other areas when the big rescues occur.

I have a page on Cavy Spirit (Perspective) that is pretty obscure (linked off the Hollister Story) that highlights some of the big rescues from the past:
Guinea Pigs in Pet Stores = Market for Abuse
If there are guinea pigs being sold in pet stores in your area, then there is a potential market for abuse as well. Supply and demand market conditions exist. It can happen anywhere and does.

Here are just a few examples of cases that have made the light of day, so to speak:

St. Louis, Missouri: A breeder is keeping 100+ guinea pigs in deplorable conditions in a basement: 10-12 guinea pigs per wooden hutch the size of a 20-gallon aquarium. Bedding covered in feces. Empty water bottles. Fungal infections and probably worse.

Lewiston, Maine (November 2002): Authorities have destroyed 303 sick guinea pigs that were found in a Lewiston woman’s basement this week.

Relatives of Pauline L’Italien said they don’t know how many of the rodents, possibly infected with ringworm, may have been given away to local people. Ringworm is an easily transmittable fungus that can infect both animals and people.

The animals in the Cottage Road home basement were so ill that officials had them destroyed. Steve Dostie, director of the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, said the animals were in “horrible” shape when they arrived at his clinic on Tuesday. The shelter had no choice but to destroy every one, he said.

They were so sick, and there were just so many, letting them into the shelter would have endangered the animals already there, he said. Some died on the short drive from Lewiston to the Auburn shelter.

Police found L’Italien after she was reported by a Saco woman, Laura Leedberg, last week. Leedberg answered a newspaper ad for free guinea pigs. She accepted 30 of the pets from the local home, but she was devastated by their condition.

She took so many in hopes of saving as many as she could. The pets had lost much of their hair, had lice, mites, were malnourished and infected with ringworm, Leedberg said. She kept three of the animals and sent the rest to a pet rescuer in Connecticut, Kim Olsen of Bright Future Animal Rescue. Olsen said that three of the 27 have since died, but the others are doing well.

They’ve run up an $800 vet and food bill, but they’re recovering quickly, Olsen said. She’s been feeding them special foods along with ground vitamin C tablets. Friends and neighbors have been nursing them with ointment and attention.

“People call them ‘pocket pets,’” Olsen said. “They say they’re disposable. They’re not disposable.” Some of these are just a few days old. Others are pregnant. They deserved better, she said.

Every guinea pig needs a fresh bed of shavings and a few feet of space to play, she said. “They’re active animals and they need to run around,” Olsen said. “They’re just so darn cute. They make a wonderful companion.” Of course, they need care, too. Olsen has never heard of a private home having more than a few guinea pigs, she said.

L’Italien, who declined to comment, began with just two. “Two turned into a whole bunch,” said her daughter, Carolyn L’Italien. “She thought they were her best friends.” She did not know details of the conditions in her mother’s home, but she believes no harm was meant. “She has a big, huge heart,” the daughter said. “My mom would never hurt anyone or anything.” See: url=]Hundreds of Guinea Pigs Destroyed[/url].

Ann Arbor, Michigan (June/July 2002): 130 guinea pigs (and several kittens) were seized from pet store in Ypsilanti, MI. They were kept in a back room in tubs and 20-gallon aquariums. They were emaciated, starved, dehydrated and covered in scabs. 117 of them were put down! 13 were saved.

Omaha, Nebraska (July 2001): Over 300 animals were removed from a house containing at least that many dead animals. These included guinea pigs, hamster, rats, mice and rabbits. They were living in 4x4 wooden partitions on the floor of a house, bedding was layered with dead animals, the humane society stopped counting at 350. The guinea pigs were extremely thin and undernourished. 15 of them were so bad they did not think they would make it through the night. See: Urgent, Rescue in Nebraska.

Omaha, Nebraska (June 2001): Over 200 guinea pigs taken from a man who supposedly started out with 5 pets a few years ago. See: Another Rescue in Omaha, NE

Sarasota, Florida (June 2001): A breeder situation with over 100 living in substandard conditions. Multiple threads on Cavies Galore (June - August).

Burlington, New Jersey (June 2000): 60 dumped guinea pigs found on the side of the NJ Turnpike, all females pregnant. See: 60 Abandoned Piggies in NJ.

Hampton, Virginia (April 2000): 150-200 guinea pigs seized from abusive breeder. See: Hamden, Virginia rescue effort needs help

Los Angeles, California (August 2000):
40 pigs let loose by a backyard breeder. A neighbor picked them up and kept them for a long time but didn't sex them . . . gpdd

San Diego, California (April 2000): Dozens of guinea pigs were seized from the home of a couple in San Diego who were breeding them to be sold at pet stores. The conditions were horrible, and the couple was charged with 85 counts of animal cruelty. Some were euthanized immediately for humane reasons and an additional 18 were euthanized the next day. See: RESCUE EMERGENCY: San Diego, CA

Those are just the examples of the bigger cases of abuse and neglect--the news-worthy. Every day in every state, animals are suffering in silence at the hands of ignorant pet owners, backyard breeders and worse.
If anyone knows of any other big rescues and has info about them from the past, I'd like to have it listed.


Post   » Sat Mar 08, 2003 3:40 pm

Those are horrible stories. I don't always get the details of the pigs that come to me. I know that 4 are from a backyard rescue of 60+ in Long Beach. I'll try to get the info.

3 young boars came about 2 weeks ago. They had been held at an L.A. shelter for 3 weeks since their owner died and I guess there is a rule about a holding period to allow relatives to come forward. It was only after I got the pigs that I heard the whole story.

Apparently the owner was a shut-in, a morbidly obese woman whose apartment was so cluttered that the police had to hack their way inside. I don't think anyone knew that she was dead until some time had passed.

I don't know how many were in there, but according to someone who works at the shelter, there were "dead and dying animals everywhere." These 3 little pigs were the only survivors.

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Post   » Sat Mar 08, 2003 4:41 pm

I'm a foster home for guinea pigs at Little Furries Rescue and Referral. I don't take much part in the active rescuing, but I'll be happy to take in as many cavies as I can care for.


Post   » Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:30 pm

Hi Teresa,

I didn't see the Phoenix rescue I did in October on your list. I also don't know if I contacted you to give you an update.

The story was that the caretaker had been incarcerated and in order for her parents to pay her legal fees, they would have to sell her home. The mother, who hadn't been to her daughter's property in over 2 years, contacted me and we made arrangements for the rescue.

The first day I went and counted 120 piggies left outdoors with no food, green water and no shelter from the desert elements. They were on the dirt ground with a mere two layers of cinder blocks dividing them into smaller groups. When I went back the next day to collect them all, they left me a note saying they had found 30 more inside the house and asked me to take them as well. I got them home and with much help from the Phoenix people on this board we got them set up in an "Emergency Rescue" shelter here at my home. About 2 weeks later the woman called me again to say that they found about 10 more in the house a couple days after I had been there and wanted me to come get them as well. So they had 40 in the house that they originally didn't even know about. They were drinking the water the daughter had left out for the oodles of cats that also lived in that room.

The original caretaker had recently been incarcerated so they had gone for at least 4 days without pellets or hay.

I felt lucky that they were in fair shape. They were Vitamin C deficient which we corrected right away and we did loose a few to an intestinal infection. We had to euthanize one little guy who had a terrible injury to his eyeball and we lost one in surgery to correct a broken leg that was left to heal completely sideways.

The double layer of cinder block did not contain them and it was pure luck for me that not all the girls were pregnant. They were separated, but a handful turned out to be pregnant. I assume one or more of the boys still felt healthy enough to climb the barrier to do his deed. Surely they were not healthy enough to breed as there could have been a whole lot more of them pregnant.

Anyway, this story didn't attract any news so I don't know if you want it included in your records, but as far as I know, it is the largest rescue in Phoenix. There have probably been other accounts of large numbers where they have killed them all, but I was able to save this group. We are down to the last 50 waiting for homes. Actually, the little guy in my avatar is Dwight, he is just sitting on top of his hidey hole waiting for his new family to come along!

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Post   » Tue Mar 11, 2003 7:22 pm

I don't know if this goes here, but I hope you can help me. There is a thread on CG that I have been posting on, it was started by Moru. The thread was originally about Moru's pup with head tilt, and a breeder she knows who knowingly breeds a sow that produces this defect. The thread has moved now to those on CG not understanding why a "responsible rescue" does not show. I tried to explain, but am doing a poor job. Can anyone explain it to me, so I can post it there?

I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Tue Mar 11, 2003 10:19 pm

I had a thread on this somewhere, let me see if I can find it.

check out this one and see if it says what you want.

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Post   » Wed Mar 12, 2003 12:39 am

Yes! That's great! Thank you (and thank you so much for the latte, too!)

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Post   » Sat Mar 15, 2003 11:13 pm

I'm surprised to see that the Cavy Rescue page linked to Cavy Spirit refers readers to so-called rescues that do not meet these standards. Is there any application process, or is that information simply provided by the individuals?


Post   » Sat Mar 15, 2003 11:37 pm

Yes, there is an application process. Who are the so-called rescues? Geez, I hope you're not talking about me...

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Post   » Sun Mar 16, 2003 3:59 am

Kifaru, are you talking about Sharlene? If so, let me know if that's your concern and I'll explain it. Otherwise, I've got no idea what you are talking about. But I don't want to go into it unless that is explicitely who you are referring to.

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Post   » Sun Mar 16, 2003 3:03 pm

Sorry, no, I don't know who Sharlene is or anything about her circumstances. I was looking through the list trying to find a rescue referral for someone who is looking to adopt a companion for her single boar and saw a listing for a person in my region who frequently attends the shows to 'rescue' breeder's pet quality sales animals, seeks out pet store unsellables, houses two and three animals in 14 by 24 inch Super Pet cages, and hands animals over in parking lots as a standard practice.
I was surprised to see this individual listed, but if there is no application process, then I understand that you have no way of confirming standards of care.
Might I suggest a disclaimer that a listing is not an actual recommendation, perhaps with a link to the guidelines provided at the beginning of this thread?

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