Hollister Guinea Pig Rescue (July 2, 2002)
187 guinea pigs were seized from a woman in Hollister on 7/2/02 by Animal Control Officers. She had been breeding them for 11 years. She "traded the babies to pet stores for food" -- presumably for money for food for herself (there were no other animals). They were housed outdoors, next to a trailer. The animal control officers found empty water bottles and empty food dishes and at least one dead guinea pig outside of the cages.
As you can see, the technique used for cleaning cages was to throw new shavings on top of old shavings -- for a long time. In one cage, the pile of feces was so high, the hair on the backs of the pigs was poking through the rusted cage wire on the top of the cage as they walked along.
The compacted feces and bedding was filled with maggots and worms and other gross stuff. HAC (Hollister Animal Control) also expects to find the carcasses of dead guinea pigs as they sift through the mountains of ancient bedding. The stink was overpowering. It took three HAC trucks to transport all the cages from the residence to the shelter.
At the time of the seizure, she wanted her pigs back. And she wanted the officers to leave the cages and only transport them in small carriers. The pigs were supposedly fed rabbit pellets and vitamin C in the water. She has now officially surrendered the guinea pigs and we must find new homes immediately. As pregnant sows deliver, we expect the numbers to climb to 300+ guinea pigs very soon.
Please visit the new HOLLISTER page for the latest information on the rescue and the status of the guinea pigs as well as how you can help.
1 A wire cage One wire cage; pigs have been removed. This shows the buildup of bedding, feces, urine and who knows what else.
2 Unloading the trucks It took three trucks from Animal Control to get all the cages out of the residence and to the shelter.
3 Pigs inside The guinea pigs are all inside of these cages as they were found at the residence.
4 Extremely heavy These cages --dog kennels-- were extremely heavy.
5 Multiple people needed It took several officers to load and unload these cages.
6 Wheel barrows to move them They were so heavy, wheel barrows had to be used to move them around.
7 One typical cage End view of one cage.
8 Another end view Closer shot.
9 A cage closeup Rusted wire doors. Old bedding and feces took from 1/3 up to 3/4 of the cages!
10 Inside of a cage The pigs are very stressed at this time from the move.
11 Some of the cages The cages were numbered. The pigs had been counted on site. At the shelter, the pigs in each cage were kept together for processing the 'evidence' until individual identification is done.
12 Another view Inside each cage: 10-20 pigs each. Urine, feces, pellets, bedding, possibly dead animals. Outdoors. It's VERY hot in this area: 80-100 degrees during the day and cold at night.
13 Counting and moving begin The process of getting the pigs out, paperwork completed and moved into new, clean cages took hours.
14 A cage One of the cages.
15 The worst one This was the worst one as a percentage of bedding to cage height!