Two pet rats were dumped outside a pet shop in Brighton last week – and now the RSPCA is investigating.
The animal charity said CCTV shows a man abandoning the pets in a plastic carrier outside A. Coombs pet store in Baker Street, before fleeing.
Staff at the store found the carrier outside their shop at around 5.30pm on Thursday (August 23), and were shocked when they realised two rats were inside.
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The RSPCA is now appealing for information, and has taken the two male rats, one grey and white and one ginger and white, to a local animal centre.
RSPCA Inspector Liz Wheeler said: “These two rats are healthy and friendly pet rats, so it is very strange to think that this man decided to abandon them.
“Sadly, we see a lot of unwanted pets abandoned like this, and it’s very upsetting to think that people consider dumping their pets to be an appropriate course of action when they can’t or don’t want to look after them anymore. Perhaps this man thought that by leaving the rats outside a pet shop, he was doing the right thing, but in reality, they could have been in real danger if they hadn’t been found quickly.”
The RSPCA said the man is described as a white with short dark hair, wearing a dark baseball cap, a purple/red checked shirt, dark tracksuit trousers and black and white basketball trainers.
The charity said under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is an offence to abandon an animal.
The number of abandoned animals taken in by the RSPCA peaked in June last year, with 850 dumped pets needing to be rescued by officers.
Inspector Wheeler said: “Abandoning pets should never be seen as a solution to a problem, and we are urging pet owners to take responsibility for their animals.
“When people take on a new pets - whatever that animal may be - they do need to research it, make sure it will suit their lifestyle and that they will be able to provide for it for the entirety of its life - however long that may be.”
Anybody with any information can contact Inspector Wheeler by leaving her a message on the RSPCA’s inspector’s appeal number on 0300 123 8018.
To find out more about the RSPCA, visit: www.rspca.org.uk