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Animal Welfare Did I do the right thing?


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
May 21, 2018
Hey all. Yesterday my mom went to a few yard sales around 7:30AM and at one of them, she seen two adults guinea pigs for sale. For context, it was quite chilly during this time, probably around 12 degrees celsius. I was quite shocked so I went over to take a look at them for myself around 10AM after work. The cage was one of those "Living World" cages that they sell at petstores and I think it was the large size. The guinea pigs had no space to run, they had a large bowl of cheap pellets, a handful of hay, and a piece of fleece draped over the bottom of the cage. The cage was just sitting in the driveway, out in the cold.

Upon closer examination, I noticed the pigs were both overweight and had curled nails because they were so long. One of the pigs was a classic american guinea pig, and aside from the nails, he looked decently healthy. The other pig though, he was visibly neglected. He had long hair that was extremely matted and a GIANT abscess that was about a toonie in width and came out about an inch. Oh, and it was bleeding! His breathing was labored as well. The woman selling them didn't mention the abscess at all so I thought that was extremely scummy of her to do. I bought the pigs for $20 and instantly took them to my local pet supply store to see if the owner would help them. The owner is a true animal lover who has rescued neglected guinea pigs and birds in the past. Since I don't have the funds to take care of these issues myself, I figured it was my best chance at helping the pigs. I just wanted them OUT of that woman's care. The owner said he will take them to the vet on his own dime Monday and see what's up with them, but he thinks the long-haired guinea pig will possibly be put down due to his abscess and breathing. If the short-haired pig is healthy his sister-in-law will probably take him, as she is an experienced owner.

At first I felt great about what I did but I've had a bad feeling in my stomach ever since. The woman who was selling the guinea pigs was obviously an unfit owner (the matted hair, the nails, the giant abscess, they lived in her garage), but I feel so horrible because she was under the impression I was going to keep them for myself and provide them a loving home. She kept telling me how happy she was and that they were "meant for me". She took a picture of me "admiring" them and showed it to her friends. I keep telling myself that I did the right thing, but I am very conflicted. I feel horrible that I didn't take them to the vet myself and take care of the long-haired pig's abscess, but I already have a heart pig and I have a pet-fund big enough to only take care of my two current pigs. The woman was closing up her yard sale, so the chances of a wealthy guinea pig lover stopping by and adopting them was quite slim.

Did I do the right thing?
As far as I'm concerned? Yes.

In my book the welfare of the pigs is paramount. There is simply no excuse for animal neglect. If you cannot look after them, get them to someone who can. As much as it would break me, if I were unable to look after my pigs any more the first thing I would do is find a good home for them and failing that, a good shelter.

If the pig with an abscess is really in that bad a shape, it may be a blessing. Spending his time in miserable shape, in deteriorating condition is just cruel. You did what you had to do for those little ones. Thank you for having the guts to do what needed to be done.
I agree with the others.

Sometimes, going through Craigslist ads, I get very upset seeing the conditions in which some people keep their animals and have a good mind to let these people know exactly what I think about their treatment of these helpless creatures. However, from a practical standpoint I also know that it would do no good to try to shame a bad owner. Most of these owners either can't or won't see how what they are doing is inhumane, and making people feel attacked just causes them to shut down. Then they won't want to cooperate to let you help the animal.

If it's the kind of situation you're talking about, I personally would have no guilt whatsoever in telling/letting the owner think whatever they need to to get the animals out of there. People who are that neglectful and keep their animals in such conditions don't deserve to have them in the first place. Personally, the fiery part of me might have been tempted to just threaten to call animal control on them for neglect if they didn't give me the pigs right now. But like I said, such a confrontation would just put the owner on the defensive and anyway, by the time animal control came out there, the one needing medical attention would be in much worse shape, or possibly have died. So ultimately, my immediate, emotional response to the situation would not have helped the pigs. If $20 and keeping your mouth shut is all it took to help these pigs, I think you definitely made the right move. Thank you for taking an interest in their plight.
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Don't second guess yourself. You were decisive in your action and the piggies are now receiving much better care than they probably ever have before.

Our household recently had a new member join us unexpectedly. While not planned or prepared for our new shy potato is receiving better care and nutrition than he has ever experienced before. Before my daughter rescued him she was questioning whether it would be a problem to bring him home or not as my wife was not happy with the idea. I knew that if my daughter didn't do what she could to save the little guy it would tear her up if anything bad happened to him.

So take a breath and know that no matter the out come you gave those piggies the best chance you could.
Yes, you absolutely did the right thing. And the owner was right, they were meant for you because you had the means to get them help. Since the owner was so happy that they were getting a good home, I would wonder how she ended up with them in the first place and why she couldn’t take better care of them. At any rate, you and the pet supply owner did a good thing.
Yes, you are right. I think you have experience in taking care of pets.
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