Cage Safety Check Time! - Tragic Story

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:58 am

I wrote this post over on GPC. I'm crossposting it here as well.

A tragic event today led me to want to request of all members to do regular safety checks of their cages. Please take the time after you read this story to do a thorough check of your cage. Check all connectors and zip ties to insure they are properly installed and still tight and functional. Check the stability and connections of second floors and any supports you may use. Check the lid (if you use one) to make certain it is safely held in place and well braced.

Today a friend of mine, whom I placed two rescued Guinea pigs with, suffered a tragic lose. Somehow the lid of her C&C cage (made of wire shelving) came loose and fell into the cage. It apparently struck one of the guinea pigs. We are unsure if the head or neck was struck but shortly after the lid fell her daughter saw the pig lying in the cage having seizures and breathing erratically. When she lifted her GP from the cage she saw blood coming from her nose and mouth. She rushed her quickly to a vet (while frantically explaining what happened to me on the phone at the same time). Unfortunately, even though she acted quickly, there was nothing the vet could do. The poor little girl's legs were already going cold and her breathing was stopping with only the occasional gasp for breath. The vet quickly euthanized her to save her from any further misery. It was a tragic accident and not one that she could have foreseen. She and her children are devastated (especially her little girl).

The only way to have avoided this tragedy would have been to closely inspect the lid connections. Over time connectors and zipties can fail. Please take the time to inspect and replace ones used on your cages. I would hate for this to happen to anyone else.


Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:00 am

So sorry for that family's tragic loss.

Thank you for posting to help others.

Obey My Authority

Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:13 am

I am so sorry for their loss, it is absolutely heartbreaking.
i can't imagine the panic they must have been feeling when the accident struck, the heaviness of guilt and pain they are feeling now...

Thank you very much for posting about this, I would never think of doing a check like this, I will always remember to do a quick run through of the entire cage when I do their weekly scrub down.

Again, I am so sorry for your friends' loss, and please send them our most sincere condolences.

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:20 am

I'm sorry for your friend's loss, Elly.

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:26 am

I'm so sorry this occurred. Would you mind if I sent this out on the listserve of the rescue I foster for? Thank you for posting this.

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Still supporting in 2014

Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 1:47 am

Oh, how awful! The poor piggy and her family. I've never gone two stories because I'm not confident in my structural abilities. Hopefully this tragedy will help keep it from happening to anyone else.

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:22 am

I wanted to add this as well:

I think it's important that people realize that when they are building multiple levels or ramps or upper decks that they cannot rely on one or two zip ties as hinges or connections. Also, not all zip ties are alike. They come in various thicknesses and therefore strengths. It's important to double, triple and even quadruple the connections that you make with zip ties. For example, if you use zip ties as a hinge for a ramp or upper deck, especially with the heavy wire shelving, you should use not just two zip ties, but more like six or more. And please use the heavier, thicker zip ties.

If you are going to cross-post the story, please also cross-post this part.


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one pig at a time.

Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:03 am

How tragic and heartbreaking. I am so sorry for their loss, and for yours Elly. That poor little girl, my heart goes out to her. Thank you so much for posting this reminder. I think we all take for granted that these great cages we build are sturdy and safe and sometimes forget that they were actually made for a different pupose than the one we use them for. Like Momo, I will be checking my cage periodically as well.

Please give that family a huge hug from all of us.

4 the Good of all Pigs

Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:19 am

That poor family. Elly, thank you for reminding us to do the safety checks. Just as we'd do with our own houses, periodic maintenance is required.

As I clean I too will be checking the zip ties and sturdiness.

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Supporter in 2014

Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 7:54 am

I'm so very sorry about what happened. Such an unfortunate accident.

I always makes sure I check the cage especially since I added Mr Fozzy's cage to the top of Ace and Listers. I check all of the connections and make sure to put a bit of weight on the bottom to make sure the connections under the coroplast are still holding ok.

I don't have any idea how effective this is, but it gives me peace of mind. I make sure there is a sturdy hidey house under the corner of Mr Fozzy's level in the lower cage. I'd like to think that if Mr Fozzy's cage did ever collapse it would land on the hidey house and not on a piggie

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Got Pigs?

Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:05 am

Elly thank you for the good tip. I am so sorry for your friends loss. How sad.

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:10 am

Whenever we use wire shelving as a lid, we make sure that it's at least 2-3 inches longer than the cage itself, so that as long as the cage walls are holding, the lid cannot fit down into the cage itself.

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Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:34 am

How horrible.

I use the 50lb zip ties for the cage (the small ones are 18lbs). I figure they take the stress and strain better.

Elly - do you have an account on CM? If not, can I cross post this there, as well?

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:25 am

That is tragic. I was going to say what Jennicat did, that people need to make their lids longer than the cage. I think that should also be included in the cross post.

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:03 am

While I love these grids and connectors, mine are always coming apart. It's a nightmare. They really aren't held together well by the connectors alone at all. Thank god for ties. I don't know how people use these things as shelving. This story was very disturbing, I actually just checked my cage last night because I saw one of the grids was a little loose.

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:06 am

Thanks for the warning. I think I'll email my adopters with a reminder to check connectors and ties.

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Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:31 am

I found that the connectors worked well, only if I used a pair of pliers to push them all the way together. Because they're so tight, I could rarely get them fully set if I did them by hand.


Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:33 am

That is so sad :(

I will be sure to add checking the cage and connections to my routine.

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:35 am

Feel free to crosspost this wherever it may be helpful. Please do send along Teresa's suggestions as well.

Last I saw the cage the shelving lid was longer then the cage. I can't really imagine how this happened unless the lid was placed back on the cage wrong. I will be going by the home some time soon to help inspect the cage to try to figure out how this happened to insure it doesn't happen again.

In and of themselves C&C cages are safe even if they collapse. The individual grids aren't heavy enough to do any damage. Any danger seems to come from second levels and heavy lids. Thus why, as Teresa said, you must double or triple up with heavy duty zip ties. My second levels have way more ties then one would think necessary. Even if 4 were to pop it would still be held firmly in place.

Like I said; This was a tragic, almost freak, accident. It was not something one would expect and most likely one that none of us will ever experience. My friend's loss brings about the opportunity to insure our designs are stable and safe and reminds us not to take safety for granted.

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Post   » Wed Nov 28, 2007 12:35 pm

I have a question concerning longevity of cable ties. I have a 2 x 5 with a second story that is a 1x 4 that comes into a 2 x 1 on one side. We built the second story three years ago and secured it to the first with about 50 cable tiles (cable ties that can handle 50 lbs per packaging), plus the default connectors.

Do I need to change the cable ties soon? Do they lose their strength with age? I regularly inspect for structural integrity anyway, but gave the cage a thorough going over this morning after reading this.

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