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What is a Guinea Pig Dump?
What you Don't Want to Know About What Happens to Unwanted Guinea Pigs

A dump is not taking responsibility for finding a home for your pet. A guinea pig can be dumped at a number of places, including pet stores. What all guinea pig dumps have in common is irresponsible pet ownership.

The Great Outdoors

The worst kind of dump is letting a guinea pig "go" outdoors. The usual thinking is that the animal has a chance to survive on its own, whereas a shelter will just put it down. WRONG. It is a guaranteed death sentence and one that is extremely horrible for the animal to suffer, no matter what happens--dying by being killed by any number of predators, or dying from starvation or dehydration or the elements.

You would think that most sane and caring people would never do this. However, one story that stands out is of a teenage boy who was allegedly told by his parents to find a good home for his guinea pig because he wasn't taking care of it any more. (Of course, it was probably something more like, "Get rid of that &#@!* smelly rodent.") Luckily, a very caring animal rescue couple happened to be fishing on the side of this river bank one afternoon. The boy was seen on the bridge over the river tossing the guinea pig into the water! The husband of the couple on the river bank dove into the cold water to save the poor guinea pig. They did save him and went to confront the parents of the boy. A slap on the wrist perhaps? Who knows. But you can be sure that when that happy family bought the cute guinea pig at the pet store earlier in its life, the pet store personnel had NO adoption criteria to screen out this future disaster waiting to happen.

There are many more heart wrenching stories of outdoor dumps. And we only hear about the lucky few who are found--starving, bedraggled, and half-alive. 

The Pet Store

This is the biggest mistake most people make who are looking to "get rid of" their guinea pigs. Either they have babies they can't deal with or they no longer want to keep any of their guinea pigs. Taking guinea pigs to a pet store is DUMPING them. Make no mistake about it. It is a total abdication of responsibility in finding a home for a guinea pig. Do you think the next person that walks in and plunks down $10 to $25 for a guinea pig isn't going to do the same thing in a couple of months, or worse? How many times does one poor animal have to suffer the stress of being in a pet store, changing owners, cages, locations, diets, or mates?

Most pet stores take SUB-STANDARD care of their animals. There are very few pet stores that provide adequate cage space, non-wire bottom floors, non-aquariums, healthy bedding (non-pine, non-cedar), unlimited Timothy hay for adults, fresh vegetables regularly, good quality guinea pig pellets, fresh water daily, separation by sex, and proper vet care when needed. MANY pet store guinea pigs have mites (contagious). A number of pet store guinea pigs have upper respiratory infections (contagious), frequently resulting in death. Some pet store guinea pigs have fungal problems (contagious). Many pet store guinea pigs are missexed. Many female pet store guinea pigs are pregnant or soon will be when housed with a boar. Most pet store personnel have no idea how to sex a guinea pig. Some reptile owners buy a variety of animals, such as mice, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits, to feed their pet snakes. Some pet stores will feed their sick rodents to the reptiles. Some will feed any rodent to their reptiles. Some pet stores will kill their sick animals rather than pay for vet care. Stories of a bash over the head or sticking them in the freezer or leaving them in the dumpster are not uncommon in both smaller Mom and Pop stores and big chains alike.

And here is the BAD PART: ALL pet stores SELL their animals. They DO NOT adopt them out. There are NO SCREENING procedures, no adoption contracts, no follow-up visits, and little, if any education (most advice is incomplete, frequently inaccurate, and sometimes very wrong). 

We have heard many people tell us of certain pet stores in our area that they thought were just fine when in fact, they among the worst (as evidenced by legal cases pending with animal control). Many people have no clue what goes on behind closed doors in the pet stores, or where the animals come from, or where the sick ones go. Most people don't know how to tell if an animal is sick. Most people don't know how to tell if they are buying a male or a female. Many of these pet stores have been reported to animal control officials numerous times. The point is, unless you know what to look for, what may seem like a good store, usually isn't. And even if it is, the chance of your pig going to a substandard home is very high. 

Other Dump Locations

Another variation on the theme is the guinea pigs being put in a box and being left at a grocery store parking lot. The misguided owners think someone will find them and take them home. That is if the cats and dogs and weather don't get to them first. If someone finds them, they usually end up at the shelter anyway. By that time, they may be ill and have a higher chance of being considered "unadoptable." Many pigs have died being left on the door steps of vets, shelters, rescues, and other public places.

The Moral of the Story for the average person reading this site is that PET STORES are not to be considered when trying to find a home for your guinea pig. Refer to How to Find a Home for your Guinea Pig for advice on the subject.



Dumping an animal is not a humane solution to a pet that is an inconvenience. Before bringing a pet into your home, determine if you are willing to commit to caring for your pet for its lifetime. Carefully consider if this pet will fit into your lifestyle even as an adult. If circumstances do not permit you to keep the animal, then find that pet the best possible home. 




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