Hollister Guinea Pig Seizure and Rescue
This is the ongoing saga of one example of a seizure of guinea pigs from a breeder with commercial motives. These events happen throughout the year, year after year, across the country.
On July 2, 2002, 187 guinea pigs were seized from a woman by Hollister Animal Control Officers. She had been breeding them for 11 years. She "traded the babies to pet stores for food" -- presumably for money for food for herself (there were no other animals). They were housed outdoors, next to a trailer. The animal control officers found empty water bottles and empty food dishes and at least one dead guinea pig outside of the cages.
As you can see in the photo album, the technique used for cleaning cages was to throw new shavings on top of old shavings -- for a long time. In one cage, the pile of feces was so high, the hair on the backs of the pigs was poking through the rusted cage wire on the top of the cage as they walked along. The pigs were supposedly fed rabbit pellets and vitamin C in the water.
The compacted feces and bedding was filled with maggots and worms and other gross stuff. H.A.C. (Hollister Animal Control) also expects to find the carcasses of dead guinea pigs as they sift through the mountains of ancient bedding. The stink was overpowering. It took three H.A.C. trucks to transport all the cages from the residence to the shelter.
At the time of the seizure, the woman wanted her pigs back. And she wanted the officers to leave the cages (you can guess why) and only transport them in small carriers. She has now officially surrendered all rights to the animals. We are in immediate need of people willing to adopt these guinea pigs. Some are healthier than others. All are currently in need and will be treated for lice and mites. Lice and mites are easily treated and are species-specific. They are not passed on to people or other pets. Many sows are pregnant. Most guinea pigs are otherwise healthy. We have been doing triage care for a while and will adopt out based on your ability to care for the guinea pigs.
As pregnant sows deliver, we expect the numbers to climb to 300+ guinea pigs very soon.
ALL guinea pigs are located at the Peninsula Humane Society (PHS) in San Mateo, California or in private foster homes and all adoptions are being managed by Cavy Spirit. They are not in the normal public area. PHS DOES have some guinea pigs for adoption. PHS is located just off the Peninsula/Poplar exits on 101 in San Mateo (half-way between San Francisco and San Jose). For HOW-TO-HELP, including adoptions and donations, please see the info below the Updates.
|Updates - Newest First (read bottom-up the 1st time)|
8/19/02: Jackie and her daughter Sophie leave on another shorter trip in their own vehicle with 14 guinea pigs destined for Portland and Vancouver, BC and a bit of a vacation with friends in Vancouver. They returned safely on the 26th of August.
8/16/02: They return safely! Although the trip was very harrowing and many problems in driving were encountered along the way. All but one guinea pig were delivered to their final destinations, and he was just a mix-up with another rescue.
8/5/02: The Guinea Pigs-A-Go-Go Piggebago hit the streets this morning. They will be dropping off guinea pigs to prearranged homes all the way to Toledo Ohio and back. A number of pigs will be continuing on to NY, NJ, PA, etc.
7/29/02: We've done some adoptions. Most of the guinea pigs are now healthy and adoptable. PHS gave us the green light today on using Rover, their mobile adoption unit--a converted Winnebago, to transport over 100 guinea pigs all the way to Ohio! More details on the trip very soon.
7/20/02: The chicken coop area now has C&C cages custom-fit on to some new shelves. It's not a lot of extra space, but it allowed us to spread out some of the males. Some adoptions were made (see the Adopted album). There are a few new photos at the end of the candid album (The Hollister Story Unfolds).
7/18/02: 4 pigs back from the vet today. An impacted guy that is okay. Our skinny girl has gone from 540 grams to 500 grams. She's chipper and on meds and eats like a horse, but has a lot of problems. We are so sad to say we think she will have a short life. But she has touched our heart and we will probably keep her right here beside us. She's always about two arm lengths away. The bumblefoot sow just needs care and patience like the rest of them. The boar with a HUGE abscess under his chin had surgery and now has a shunt that must be flushed daily. We hope to get the barn doors on by the end of the day Friday. Some males had to be split up and the little room of cages is bursting and very hard to deal with. Once we get doors on, we can thin out the boars a bit. Medication stations planned again for this weekend. A new photo in the Adopted album!
7/17/02: 8 adopted so far. Shelves in the chicken coop area, now waiting for doors to be constructed to get a few more square feet of cage space. New album of candids! TONS of photos. See where they are and what we've done and how!
7/16/02: Well, we've been busy getting the pigs settled in to their new digs, routines established and volunteers signed up. We do have an album now of many of the guinea pigs that will be available for adoption. We still have to add photos of the ones in foster care, including many new babies, as well as a few in vet care. Please visit the new Hollister Adoptables album! Due to technical difficulties, the candid album of a TON of photos on the new location and progress won't be available until later tonight. We are working on the planning for transportation or a 'rescue railroad' to locations across the country. We hope to make some kind of announcement about it by the end of this week or very early next week. There is also a new album of the lucky guinea pigs who have already been placed into new homes: Hollister Adopted! The early adoptions are going to people who know how (or are instructed and given meds) to continue the medication for lice and mites and know how to quarantine these from any guinea pigs they may have at home. You can put in comments on individual photos on the guinea pigs, but we are not guaranteeing any 'reserves' at this point if you've already filled out or do fill out an adoption application. We are not yet completely organized on that aspect. We might do that later, but not now. First priority of adoptions will go people locally who can adopt here and now, but rest assured, there are a ton of cute and wonderful guinea pigs to choose from!
7/12/02: The rest of the guinea pigs arrived at PHS late today, thanks to volunteers. Channel 3 NBC news came over around 5pm and we were on the 11 o'clock tonight! We barely got home in time to watch it. It was a long night. Tomorrow we will start the more detailed process of re-confirming sex, basic exams, and medicating the piggies. Several more were pulled for medical conditions. Cages are cramped. We don't really have enough room. Hoping to get guinea pig-knowledgeable adopters in the area soon!
7/11/02: Today, Karen brought over 11 Marchioro cages to PHS, set them up and got them ready to receive guinea pigs for tomorrow. We're starting the daily routines of feeding, cleaning, watering. We will probably working quite late tomorrow night as the pigs are due to all arrive by Friday evening. The weekend will be busy as well. The response from people on the internet has been GREAT!! Such a great start to commitments for getting these pigs adopted. After we get past the initial whirlwind of activity, we'll report back on more details.
7/10/02: The 70 not only survived the first night in their new abode, they were popping and snoozing and very happy. So happy some of them have started bickering! Even though they have more space and a huge increase in the quality of environment, we still have limited space available. We really need to get them adopted out now. The woman has now officially surrendered them! They are ADOPTABLE! Let's get them adopted! We will continue to create more cage space on Thursday and Friday. We have arranged to transport the remaining guinea pigs by Friday evening. PLEASE see the section below on how you can help out. We really need lots of help!
We had to remove the comment section on the photo album as some people with nothing better to do than write garbage had taken over. Perhaps later, we'll add it back. In the meantime, please visit our new forum to share your thoughts or ideas. We hope to have a chance to get the many additional photos we have uploaded within the next few days. Please check back soon!
7/9/02: A GOOD DAY! 70 of the guinea pigs have now been moved up to the Peninsula Humane Society. They are in a small barn area, currently housed in about 38 square feet of cage space. We have two 2x6 grid cages, each divided in half for different groups of pigs. One adult boar is currently housed separately in a Super Pet cage. Today we are working on preparing the area for more cages. PHS (Peninsula Humane Society) has been wonderful in helping to revamp this space into an area that works for the guinea pigs. The HRS (House Rabbit Society) is also loaning a significant number of cages which may ultimately be purchased by future adopters. The remaining guinea pigs are either in the cat room at the shelter out of the sun or at an offsite air-conditioned vet office. That is temporary until processing is completed and they can be moved up to PHS. More info on how you can help will be available later today along with updated photos.
7/8/02: We went down to the shelter on Saturday and Sunday to clean cages and assess guinea pigs. It takes a long time and we never seem to have enough time to get everything done. We all came back on Saturday with major sunburns after being there for multiple days and totally forgetting about the sun! Saturday it was me, Jackie, and Leah. Sunday, I drove down with Karen from HRS (House Rabbit Society) and Leah. Karen was very organized and also brought down some donations from HRS. We got some hiding houses and tunnels for a number of the cages in addition to extra water bottles, food, and other items! Sunday we took sunscreen! We were only there for 2 1/2 hours on Sunday. Just enough time to get some cages cleaned, water bottles filled, fresh food, assess guinea pigs. We pulled two more. One sick and in distress and another very pregnant female. We gave the sick one sub-cue fluids while we there. We took her straight to our vet. She didn't make it. Two of eight pregnant sows in foster have now delivered. Linda, another cavy volunteer, went down to help out today. On Saturday, 6 new cages were bought by the shelter to provide a bit more space and ventilation. We hope to get them moved to another cooler shelter within the next two days. It's unfortunate that our 100 degree plus heat wave is starting tomorrow.
7/5/02: Today, was not a good day. The cages needed to be cleaned. The task was overwhelming. The pigs are still far too crowded. In just 3 short days, the cages were quite disgusting. The shelter's resources are limited. Even though they have more space than before, they are still crowded. A white lethal baby died while we were there -- even though we had her separated. Three babies were found dead in two different cages -- they appeared to be squashed by the larger pregnant sows. 10 sows (8 heavily pregnant) and 2 sets of newborns were removed to foster. One of those sows has already delivered 4 babies. One sow had delivered on the 4th of July -- she had her babies are now in foster. Another runt also died. I can't say more strongly or more passionately that we need good foster homes. One visit there, and you would darn well find a way to fit one or two more guinea pigs in your home.
7/4/02: We started in just two cages to sex and photograph the piggies. We got through 38 pigs in two cages. We brought down more donated Alfalfa hay and 4 grocery bags full of veggies. We refilled water bottles, pellets and did some other maintenance chores.
7/3/02: They found two dead sows today. One was definitely pregnant. The vet checked them. There were only a couple with some problems. Most were surprisingly in good condition. No babies yet. ALL the hay we gave them yesterday was gone! -grin- We told them it would be. All the pellets were gone. They fed them some more carrots today and those were devoured in an hour. The woman was told today that even if she does get her pigs back, she will have to pay all expenses, including $5 per day per pig for boarding plus any other expenses including the vet bill. Her response, "So much for that..."
|HOW TO HELP! (more info coming soon)|
There are LOTS of ways you can help. The most important is adopting, but there are other things you can do, too.
Money (for supplies, food, vet bills, etc.)
Supplies (pellets, hay, food, cages, accessories, etc.)
Bring and feed fresh food every day
Cleaning cages, changing water bottles, etc.
Put up posters (above right) in pet stores, vet offices, etc.
Drive a leg of an upcoming rescue railroad
Adopt! Give a couple of guinea pigs a new lease on life.
NOT IN THE SF BAY AREA? You can still help!
There is no way the SF Bay Area can support the current 600+ homeless guinea pigs (with more on the way as a number of these pregnant sows deliver), especially while pet stores and breeders keep supplying guinea pigs to uneducated and unaware buyers. We will be organizing rescue railroads to transport guinea pigs across the country -- hopefully, all the way to the east coast. We'll need adoptive homes and volunteer drivers across the country.
I want to Donate Funds!
I want to donate money to the Helping the Hollister Homeless Guinea Pigs Fund (HHHGPF). We are in desperate need of funds. We have already spent hundreds of dollars in food, bedding, and supplies and we are just getting started. PLEASE HELP US! There are three easy ways to contribute to the rescue. The easiest for us is if you send money via PayPal. You can also email us for our address to send a check via postal mail (one of our rescuer volunteers is replying with the address for us). You can also CALL Oxbow Hay Company and give them your credit card info over the phone and they will put your contribution as a credit on our account for pellets and hay. Click the graphic of your choice. (Note to AOL users, to send a check, just click this email link and ask for the address.)
I want to Adopt!
Adoptive homes become the lifetime caretaker of the animal and assume full responsibility for it. We are currently not accepting foster homes. For information about our adoption criteria please see our Adopting page. If you want to adopt a couple of these guinea pigs, please complete the online adoption application found on that page.
I want to Help Out on the Scene!
We really need people who can commit to certain times on the care, feeding, and cleaning of the guinea pigs. If you know about guinea pigs, that's wonderful. If you want to learn more, now is your chance to be tutored by experts. It's really important to find people who can make a consistent, longer-term commitment -- it will be easier for us to manage. We are managing the care, NOT THE SHELTER! If you can only sign up for occasional times here and there we will try to accommodate you, but it might be tricky. Please be patient with us. We will be improving the process as we go. For a map and directions to PHS, please visit their About Us page.
THESE FORMS ARE JUST HISTORY NOW, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THE TIME TO FILL THEM OUT.
The SEND button has been removed.
I want to DRIVE!
The Hollister Rescue Railroad needs YOU! Can you drive? The closer you are to the west coast, the larger the vehicle you will need. An SUV-type vehicle or larger is REQUIRED. No pickup trucks or such. RV-type campers with A/C would be great. Regular cars will be too small except for final drop-off legs. You must be able to volunteer for at least a 2-hour drive. Keep in mind that if the exchange can't happen during the drive, you may be required to temporarily house the guinea pigs for a day or two or three until it can be arranged to meet your next connection. On long trips, an overnight stay might be required. GUINEA PIG PEOPLE PLEASE! We want to avoid drivers who are just driving and know nothing about guinea pigs, unless we are unable to complete a leg without a non-guinea pig driver.
THESE FORMS ARE JUST HISTORY NOW, PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THE TIME TO FILL THEM OUT.
The SEND button has been removed.
Please visit the NEW HOLLISTER FORUM to discuss, vent, or ask questions about this rescue.
| ||HOLLISTER PHOTOS|| |
| ||The Hollister Rescue story is best told in pictures. Please visit this album to get a better understanding of the need of these guinea pigs.|| |
| ||HOLLISTER ADOPTABLES|| |
Many of the Hollister Adoptables are now available for viewing!
A photo album of candid shots as we received the guinea pigs from Hollister at PHS.
| ||The NBC News Story|| |
This ran Friday (7/12) on Channel 3 NBC (cable) in the SF Bay Area and nationally on Saturday morning. If your viewing is choppy over a dial-up line, try downloading it (right mouse click) from this link and running it locally. This is a Microsoft Media Video file (WMV) format. To view or save a higher resolution version, left or right click here.
If you live locally, please print out this document in color and put it up in pet stores and vet offices! Use one of these document formats: