AN ANIMAL charity has seen a surge of abandoned Guinea Pigs which were bought during lockdown.

The RSPCA saw a 68 per cent increase on their 'find a pet' page during the first lockdown in 2020. Guinea Pigs were searched more than 61,000 times but the charity now feels it has seen the start of repercussions from the increase in pet ownership while people were stuck at home.

Across South Yorkshire, there have been 59 instances of Guinea Pig abandonment and the charity now wants to urge owners to think before they buy.

RSPCA animal welfare expert Dr Jane Tyson said: “Sadly Guinea Pigs, along with other small companion animals like rabbits and hamsters, are very misunderstood.

“We do see instances of abandonment and neglect every year and even in 2020 and 2021, this was no exception.

“What is concerning is that before we have even reached the peak of the summer months our inspectors are already seeing hundreds of incidents involving Guinea Pigs, and with many people still at home it is surprising that this is still happening already.

“There is support available for owners who feel they cannot cope, abandoning an animal or subjecting them to a life of neglect is never the answer. We would encourage anyone struggling to reach out to family and friends, charities and to make their vet aware that they need help.”