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60 animals, some exotic, surrendered

Homes sought for hedgehogs, quail, chinchilla and more.

A major animal surrender/rescue operation by the Guelph Humane Society is being met with an equally major community outpouring.

Earlier this week, the GHS received a call from someone in the Guelph area who could no longer care for an assorted family of pets. When officials responded they found a home filled with 60 animals, some of them exotic, some of them pregnant.

Among them are five hedgehogs, a pair of chinchillas, 31 quails, and 20 rabbits. The public response has been heartening, said GHS executive director Adrienne McBride.

“It happens that people find themselves in situations where their life changes, either financially or their living situations, and they are just not able to care for the animals that they have in their care,” McBride said Thursday. “That sometimes happens with one animal, and sometimes it happens with 60 animals.”

As with any animal surrendered to or rescued by the agency, medical examination and treatment are the first order of business. That is a costly undertaking, especially in this case. It’s estimated emergency veterinary care will cost about $8,000.

In less than 48 hours, donations amounting to nearly $3,000 have come in, along with donations of food, feed, seed, grit, hay, and fresh vegetables.  

“The response has been overwhelming, to put it lightly,” she said. “It’s been so fantastic. We are so lucky in this community to have such a supportive animal community in Guelph, and we’ve just had a great outpouring of support in terms of supplies. We are well stocked for food, hay and fresh veggies for the rabbits.”

Many have expressed an interested in adopting some of the animals, and there is a very strong interest in the hedgehogs.

“We’ve never had hedgehogs available for adoption at the humane society,” McBride added. None of the animals are available immediately. The veterinary care comes first.   

The 60 animals in this case are being sheltered off site, and undergoing care. Some of the rabbits are pregnant, McBride said.

“That is our role in the community, to step in when we are made aware of situations like this and help the animals and the owner,” she said.

The 60 animals were generally in good health, with a few needing minor medical care. Ongoing medical care will be necessary.

“Some would be considered exotic pets, and that is an area that some people just have an interest in,” she said, adding the button quail are particularly exotic. “Someone who is an aviary enthusiast would have them.”

Along with the veterinary care, there are offsite housing, food and supplies expenses to cover. Donations are most welcome.  Go to the donation page of the organization’s website at Products can also be dropped off at the GHS location, at 500 Wellington Street W.

The GHS is asking the public to consider adopting one of the animals, or to foster either a single rabbit or family of rabbits to help socialize them.

“Mostly for privacy and confidentiality, I can’t speak much about the situation,” McBride said, adding not a lot of information is known about the circumstances of the owner of the pets. “We know that they came from one owner in a residential situation, outside of Guelph.”


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Rob O'Flanagan

About the Author: Rob O'Flanagan

Rob O’Flanagan has been a newspaper reporter, photojournalist and columnist for over twenty years. He has won numerous Ontario Newspaper Awards and a National Newspaper Award.
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