FAMILIES are being urged to think carefully before buying a small furry as a ‘starter pet’ for their children as the RSPCA reveal it is 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 -
including 90 in Hampshire.
In the county, the animal welfare charity also dealt with 325 incidents involving smaller furry animals in 2018.
Dr Jane Tyson, the RSPCA’s rabbit and rodent welfare expert said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Last year the RSPCA rehomed 2,752 rabbits - about 340 a month.
The Stubbington Ark currently has a number of small furry animals waiting for a forever home including rabbits Nibbles and Fluffy – a sweetheart couple who want to find a place together.
Ferrets Tinkerbell and Elsa want a large outdoor pen and are happy to join a home with other ferrets.
To find out more about adopting visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet