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!
16 The worst one A corner view.
17 The worst one View of the top living space. The hair on the backs of the pigs was poking through wire on the top of the cage.
18 Another cage, top removed End view of the dead bedding.
19 Cage still on the truck Pigs inside.
20 Close-up, pigs inside A closer shot, pigs are still inside, waiting their turn for a clean cage.
21 Another cage on the truck Almost all of these cages contained heavily pregnant females.
22 Closer shot The pigs were transported in their existing cages.
23 Door close-up Heavy rust.
24 Door close-up With pigs inside.
25 Another cage
26 And another cage
27 Yet another cage
28 Another view
29 Closer view of cage with pigs The pigs were hiding under the only 'structure' available to them in the cage, the metal food dish.
30 Another cage
31 Closer shot
32 Inside view
33 Pregnant Moms and Babies In their old cage.
34 More piggies
35 Pig retrieval There were so many heavily pregnant females, it was a bit tricky getting them out of the cages.
36 Pig retrieval! Not a pleasant experience. The poor piggies were so scared.
37 Dislodged MAGGOTS! This was soooo gross! A clump of the gross bedding/feces got knocked out the front of the cage as we were removing the guinea pigs.
38 Creepy crawler crud It's a bit hard to see in these photos, but there were a number of white creepy crawlers that were exposed!
39 Transfer to Clean Cage For now, the groups of pigs went into clean cages in the same groups they were taken in. They will be sexed and separated appropriately in the next few days.
40 Almost there!
41 The Rooster Cages Pigs are safely inside.
42 Clean Cage! Whoohoo! No more living on and in poop.
43 Huddled but happier
44 From the outside These cages were originally built to house roosters at the shelter.
45 Oh my! Hay and Carrots! We stopped at the feed store on our way down and bought a bale of Timothy hay. Had we known the majority of the pigs were moms and babies, we would have bought a bale of Alfalfa. Next visit, we'll bring that.
46 Hay and Carrots The shelter had one wooden house available from a rabbit surrender.
47 More munching The pigs were quite happy with the hay and clean bedding and carrots.
48 Another view Content pigs.
49 Another cage Muncha buncha hay!
50 Still another cage Happily chowing down.
51 Another cage This cage had to be used as an additional cage for the piggies.
52 Big picture View of all pigs in their new, clean, temporary housing.
53 Another angle
54 Overflow Some cages had to be cleaned and reused for now. The shelter didn't have enough cages to accomodate all the needy guinea pigs. This area is outdoors, but enclosed with steel fencing and locked.
55 Cages inside locker These cages are in the outside metal locker area.
56 Closer view This cage contains one of the largest pregnant females.
57 Some of the now empty cages Now the old bedding will be sifted through for additional evidence.