Local shelters see increase in return of small pets – NBC Connecticut

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A rabbit’s face is the one everyone would love, but more and more small animals like rabbits are returning through the doors of shelters.

Local shelters are now seeing a tendency for small animals to be returned in large numbers.

“We expect to see almost 200 more this year than last year. Based on the numbers when we end our calendar year. So that’s been a significant increase, ”said Theresa Geary, director of operations at the Connecticut Humane Society.

At the Connecticut Humane Society in Newington, rabbits and guinea pigs are most often returned.

“Many are dropped off and scheduled as a surrender by families. A lot of them come in groups, so it’s not one, it’s two to five at a time, ”Geary said.

She says it’s largely due to accidental breeding. The pandemic could have played a role as well, with more people adopting pets during the lockdown.

“Now they’re in a position where they’re either too many or they have a family that they don’t expect,” Geary said. “Or they just didn’t understand the amount of care these little guys take to keep them happy, healthy and emotionally engaged.”

There is a similar situation at the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford.

“We kind of mark the fact that people went out and got them during the pandemic, and then they go back to work, and they find all of our places are full, and so they ‘I just let them go,” said director Laura Burban.

The shelter posted on Facebook that most of the guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice and rabbits they were hosting were found abandoned outside in places like gas stations and parks.

“We have a giant white rabbit that we named Peppermint that was dumped at a gas station, and it stands out like a sore thumb because it’s white and obviously not meant to be in the wild. “said Burban. “So if the good Samaritan hadn’t stopped to pick him up and bring him to us, he wouldn’t have lived. Coyotes, everything else will have a creature like that. They are just not meant to be in the wild.

Both animal shelters say there are now plenty of these furry little friends to adopt for people who understand responsibility.

“A guinea pig or a rabbit living in a cage all his life is not ideal,” Geary said. “We want them to be able to go out, exercise and play. And if you’ve ever seen a rabbit or a guinea pig play, they’ll pick up toys and throw them!

They might be the size of a pocket, but some of these little pets can live a decade: jump around, hope for a home, and bring years of happiness.

“It’s not a small commitment for some of these guys. That could be almost what’s considered the lifespan of a cat or dog in some cases, ”Geary said.

Shelters reiterate that if you must abandon your pet, do not abandon it outside. Call and make an appointment to make sure the animal will be safe.

If you want to add a new member to your family, a small pet costs between $ 20 and $ 60 to adopt, and shelter staff will advise you on how to give it a happy home.


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