If you’re looking to adopt a guinea pig from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Animal Care and Control shelter, you’ll need to wait until next week to fill that cage.
The shelter had a run on guinea pigs over the past two months. About 20 were adopted, spokeswoman Melissa D. Knicely told The Charlotte Observer. A mom guinea pig and her babies are being housed at shelter, but they’re not up for adoption yet, she said.
Sometimes one or two guinea pigs will arrive over a two- to four-month span because their owners are moving, or a child no longer cares for them, or they were removed from a home due to an eviction or willful abandonment, Julia Conner, the shelter’s humane education officer, said.
The shelter occasionally will take in several guinea pigs in a day or a week, usually because a male and female were housed together and had too many babies for the owners to care for, Conner said.
“It’s really very random when they come in, but they do come in regularly enough that advertising their adoptability is important,” she said.
Unlike dogs and cats, guinea pigs and other small animals have a “pretty large space” at the shelter, so capacity isn’t an issue, Knicely said.
When a large number of guinea pigs are brought in, the shelter posts their photos on its Facebook page “ASAP,” Conner said.
“This helps a lot,” she said. “We do the same thing with rabbits.”
The timing from Facebook posting to adoption can vary, according to Conner.
“Generally we post small pets mid-week and sometimes they’ll be gone by the weekend,” she said. “When we get really full with them, I’ll do a Facebook or Instagram live and they’ll be gone by the following weekend. I think the longest pig we had was about three weeks before being adopted.”
Six guinea pigs and two rabbits will be available over the the next week or so, according to Conner.
How about a bearded dragon?
Conner said there are many unique animals housed at the shelter at any given time — including a bearded dragon and a rooster that are currently available for adoption.
“If you see it on a farm, we’ve had it come through here,” she said. “If you see small pets being sold in stores, we’ve had it come through here.”
Horses, sheep, goats, cattle (on rare occasions), pigs, chickens, mice, hamsters, rats, ferrets, snakes, fish, birds of all types, other lizards and gerbils have all come through the shelter’s doors, according to Conner.
Some of the animals do come in as lost pets, particularly when someone mistakenly releases a bird or rabbit “into the wild” thinking it can survive on its own, Conner said. A person typically finds these animals and brings them in, she said.
On extremely rare occasions, animals will be found outside of vet offices, pet stores or even outside our main doors as abandoned, Conner said.
CMPD Animal Care and Control
Animals are available for adoption at the shelter at 8315 Byrum Drive from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Adoption fees vary depending on the type of animal, but guinea pigs are $5 each, rabbits are $58, and dogs and cats are $30.