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Author Topic: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)  (Read 9497 times)

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WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« on: June 28, 2013, 07:04:51 PM »
I have a dilemna on how to approach a situation.

We have new neighbours.  They moved in a few weeks ago, and haven't been particularly neighbourly.  In fact, my irritation with them* caused me to forego my usual "welcome to the neighbourhood" cookie platter.

BACKGROUND:  While they were moving in, they kept their guinea pigs on the front lawn.  As some folks keep their guinea pigs outside, this in itself wasn't much of a problem.  The problem was that they kept the pigs in a very confined little space that wasn't big enough for one, much less two.  It was about 12"x18" square, with holes in the "cage" big enough for both to escape - which they did.  Several times.  At the first escape, I rang the doorbell to inform a bleary-eyed and extremely irritated person that their guinea pig had escaped.  He didn't understand me at first, but then informed me that he wasn't the homeowner and it wasn't his pet.  Nevertheless, he "helped" me catch it.
The second escape, I just grabbed the animal and put it back in it's cage. 

I saw several later escapes and the neighbours on their hands and knees trying to coax the poor pig out from under the bushes.  I pretended not to see, even though I felt truly bad for the animals.  At the time, I contemplated calling the SPCA, but didn't know if this would be something they'd be able to do anything about.  So I didn't.

SITUATION:  It's been raining for two days straight.
Yesterday, during a break in the rain, I took my daughter and my babysitting charge out for a walk.  On the way home, the guinea pig scurried across the gravel between my driveway and the neighbours bushes and sat cowering under the bush.  I could only presume it had been out for a while.  I tried to catch it, but could not devote a lot of time to it, as the kids needed to get inside.
I felt very uneasy.
I went out later to see if I could see the guinea pig, but could not, so assumed the neighbours had gotten him inside.
They didn't.
Found him again today.  Under the bushes again.  It had only just stopped raining.

I did not know what to do, so I did call the SPCA.  They were closed and the message directed me to local animal control, so I called them for advice, and they were useless.  I was told to call the SPCA tomorrow morning.  I was told that it would be wrong to take the animal in to the SPCA if I knew who the owner was.

I don't know what to do now.
In order to catch the guinea pig, I have to go fully onto my neighbours property.  I don't feel quite right doing that, since I haven't had much interaction with them beyond the "hey, here's your guinea pig".  I tried to catch the guinea pig from my side of the property, but he kept running over to the bush too far away for me to catch.

He doesn't seem like a particularly sociable animal.  That combined with finding him outside leads me to think he's kept outdoors generally.  I presume he's kept in the backyard.  But finding him in the front yard leads me to question his living arrangements (not being the sort of person to go snooping in my neighbours yard means I really don't know and likely won't ever find out).

So here's my question - would it be rude or wrong to try and catch the guinea pig?  It would involve going fully onto their front lawn, and they are not home.
Or should I just go over tomorrow morning and let them know I spotted the guinea pig under the bushes last night and was checking to see if they managed to catch him, as I was worried for him and couldn't get him myself?
Ignore it and pretend I don't care?
Catch the piggie and take him to the SPCA, despite the animal control woman's view?
Something else?

I do feel pretty bad for the poor thing, hiding under a bush trying to keep out of the rain.  :(  Plus, I am afraid that he'll scurry under my car one of these days and get run over.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 07:09:39 PM by Knitterly »


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 07:20:13 PM »
I think at most today, you can leave out some water & food. Tomorrow call the SPCA for advice.

I don't think its wrong to take the animal to SPCA if you do catch it though. After all the one time you did knock on their door the person who answered told you it wasn't his pet.


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 08:09:40 PM »
What an uncomfortable situation. I'd feel bad for the animal, too, and be worried about hitting it, especially with my kids in the car.

I agree with WillyNilly in terms of tonight. Tomorrow I'd be inclined to try to talk to the neighbors again, and if that doesn't work, proceed to the SPCA. Although, I don't see what harm it could do to make the call first if the neighbors aren't around. It's not like you'd be calling to report them. If the neighbors won't keep the guinea pig contained and it's coming into your yard, you might be able to set up a humane trap to catch it and then either return it to the neighbors (I'd only do that once,) or take it to the SPCA. You might be able to borrow a trap from animal control.


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 08:13:47 PM »
I have never heard of a guinea pig in public, and I'm sure I'd chase the critter cuz, hey its a guinea pig in public.

That being said, it is a guinea pig, so leave out some food, contemplate building a guinea pig trap, and stay out of these neighbor's lawn.  If need be, revisit the ASPCA issue.


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 08:19:13 PM »
Besides the concern for the animal, it seems like a free range, mostly oudoors guinea pig would present many of the same public health concerns as any other rodent running around outside.

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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 08:29:19 PM »
That poor baby, he must be so scared and lost :(  I'd definitely try and catch him and bring him to the ASPCA, but for right now WillyNIlly's suggestion of leaving out some food (iirc guinea pigs love carrots and they are good for them too) and water would be a really nice thing to do.


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 09:14:07 PM »
Personally I might call the SPCA and report that there's a guinea pig being kept in unsafe conditions.  They will (or should) send someone to investigate.  You can tell them the poor thing escapes regularly and that his conditions are inappropriate and hopefully they will at least leave some humane traps around, if they cannot find him.  Sounds like they don't care about him a whole lot, poor lil guy.
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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2013, 09:23:53 PM »
guinea pigs eat leaves and grass, so he's probably not starving. In fact, fresh grass is probably good for him. There may be some plants that could be bad for him, of course. But I'd gamble that lawn grass is just fine.

Water is the thing he'd need most.


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2013, 10:39:18 PM »
They wouldn't last long around here because the cats would get him. I've seen the feral cats stalk grown rabbits and squirrels and fox kits, although not usually successfully. Piggies don't move that fast.


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2013, 10:59:32 PM »
I would pick him up, put him in a box and take him to the SPCA - the animal is being neglected, terribly.

 After that I would not deal with  the neighbors, again.


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2013, 12:22:30 AM »
Guinea pigs also need a regular supply of vitamin C.  They don't produce their own, and if they don't get it, they will get scurvy and die.  I would take the piggie to the SPCA despite what animal control told you.  As a PP said, the dude at the house said it wasn't his pet.  It would probably involve a capture process as they are quick little things and a lot of squeaking on the way, but it's the right thing to do by the poor animal.


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2013, 03:38:14 AM »
Poor little guy. I absolutely loathe people who treat animals like that.

If Animal Control where you live is anything like Animal Control where I live, the advice you get when it comes to animal welfare questions varies wildly depending on who answers the phone when you call. As such, it's usually pretty unreliable. If this were the first time the piggie had gotten out, I'd take him home with me and contact his people in the morning. Given that this isn't the first time this has happened and the people have demonstrated that they either don't care a fig about him or are extremely clueless and careless, I think you're more than justified in taking him to an animal rescue facility.

I would not leave him outside unattended under any circumstances.

I was in a sort of similar situation a few years ago when my neighbors disappeared somewhere, leaving their three horses without food or water - including a very elderly fellow who was in poor health to begin with. When we realized what was going on, we didn't hesitate for a second before going onto their property and feeding and watering everyone.

(We found out later that the family was in the process of moving and had left their irresponsible, gangsta son behind to care for the horses. Instead, he ran off somewhere and ignored them. The old fellow collapsed one day and couldn't get up and we had to contact the Livestock authority to come out and euthanize him.  :'( )
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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2013, 10:53:02 AM »
The man said they weren't his, so be it.  The next time drop the animal off at the shelter.  I would not continue to be a free guinea pig wrangler for someone who can't be bothered to care for their animals.
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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2013, 11:38:46 AM »
The man said they weren't his, so be it.  The next time drop the animal off at the shelter.  I would not continue to be a free guinea pig wrangler for someone who can't be bothered to care for their animals.

I should clarify that bit.  The man said they weren't his, as he wasn't the homeowner.  They belonged to his friend, the person who owns the house.  From what I could gather, the friend was there waiting for the telephone or cable company to come and hook things up. 

As of this morning, the guinea pigs are still outside.  I tried calling the SPCA this morning, only to discover that they are actually closed for the long weekend.  Animal Control still won't do anything as they don't consider this cruelty, and the animal hasn't truly escaped in their opinion, as it is still on the owner's property.

I've put out some carrots for them*, on my side of the property line.  The carrots are now gone. 

I knocked on the neighbour's door when I was fairly sure they were home  (car was in the driveway and there were fresh cigarettes smoldering in the plastic cup on the porch).  The doorbell went unanswered, so I left.  I'm trying to watch for them to go outside for a smoke and I'll try talk to them when they are outside.

I am going to offer to keep the guinea pigs if they are no longer interested in having them as pets.  I've kept guinea pigs before and am fairly experienced with rodents in general.  I'd be happy to provide them with a nice cozy hutch.  If the piggies are truly outdoor animals, I can easily build them a hutch in the backyard - something with a nice shelter.

*Although I only posted about one guinea pig last night, there are, in fact, TWO.  Mr K spotted them both this morning.  :(


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Re: WWYD: Pet control (guinea pigs in public)
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2013, 12:24:15 PM »
I am a big animal rights activist, and the neighbors and local police do tend to come to me when there is an issue in the neighborhood because they know that typically, I know what I am doing and I have connections with the local animal police.  What I would do in this situation is to keep calling the local dog warden (they tend to be a governmental office other than SPCA) and inform them.  Sounds strange but they have some ideas or have the resources to get the right person to help these poor animals.  If the animal comes to your property, do not take it back to neighbor.  Call ASPCA and tell them it is on your property and you want it removed.    I am seething over the mistreatment of these poor things.  Guinea Pigs are susceptible to respiratory illness and being out in the rain with no shelter from it makes me sick.   PM me if you need any other advice..I can see what I can get from my local sources.