It’s a guinea pig invasion!

It was guinea pigs galore on Tuesday, when nearly 100 guinea piggies arrived at Seattle Animal Shelter.

It started about three years ago with one pair of guinea pigs – a male and female. In time, it became an unimaginable 250 guinea pigs, all in one couple’s  Eastern Oregon home. The couple surrendered all the animals and we’ve been working with the Blue Mountain Humane Society in Walla Walla to help transfer many of the guinea pigs to find homes in Western Washington.

The Seattle Animal Shelter on Tuesday served as a transport hub by accepting nearly 100 guinea pigs, which were then transferred to other animal welfare organizations in the area. Local NBC-affiliate KING 5 was on the scene for the guinea pigs’ arrival, and Animal Care Manager Tracy Bahrakis was able to provide helpful information:

  • Guinea pigs can quickly reproduce.
  • Spaying and neutering is for more than just cats and dogs – yes, guinea pigs can be neutered.
  • When spaying and neutering is not an option, guinea pigs should be separated by gender.
  • If you find yourself with a growing critter (or any other animal) population, reach out to your local animal shelter for help before becoming overwhelmed.
  • When considering adding a critter to your family, opt to adopt from your local animal shelter.

We’re happy to have been able to partner with Blue Mountain Humane Society and other animal welfare organizations to help these animals in need.

Seattle Animal Shelter to offer free spay/neuter services Feb. 27-March 3

To commemorate World Spay Day, this year taking place on Feb. 28, 2017, the Seattle Animal Shelter’s Spay and Neuter Clinic is offering free spay/neuter surgeries plus microchipping to area pets scheduled for surgery not just on that day, but that entire week – Feb. 27-March 3, 2017. Space is limited; to schedule an appointment, call 206-386-4260. This promotion is possible in part because of a generous grant from the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation.

“Spaying and neutering allows your pet to have a longer, healthier, happier life,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Zoulas, medical director of the shelter’s Spay and Neuter Clinic. “Spaying can reduce the risk of serious health issues such as pyometra, uterine cancer and mammary cancer. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and may lower the risk of prostate cancer and hyperplasia. Spaying and neutering also reduce the desire to roam and the dangers associated with that.”

These surgeries usually cost between $144-$186 for dogs, $102-$108 for cats and $90 for rabbits. While there is no residency requirement to take advantage of this special offer, pets of Seattle residents must be currently licensed or a license can be purchased on the day of the appointment. For altered animals, a one-year license is $24 for cats and $35 for dogs; a license is not required for rabbits.

The Seattle Animal Shelter also recommends having your pet – dog, cat, or rabbit – microchipped while it is at the clinic for surgery. Microchips are invaluable for the peace of mind provided by this permanent means of identification should a pet ever become lost or stolen, said Dr. Zoulas.

Dogs, cats and rabbits can be spayed or neutered when they are 4 months or older. Dr. Zoulas and her team are excited to again extend their World Spay Day promotion to include rabbits, the third most popular pet in Seattle. While clinic staff have been providing spay and neuter services to the rabbits adopted from the shelter for nearly 20 years, they only began providing this service to the public five years ago. Clinic staff are pleased with the enthusiastic response of rabbit owners to this program.

“Spaying and neutering are safe, routine surgeries that prevent animals from breeding,” said Dr. Zoulas. “This annual effort helps end the suffering of unwanted and homeless animals in our community by preventing unplanned litters.”

In addition to the foundation grant, the Seattle Animal Shelter’s “Pet Population Control Fund” partially funds this year’s World Spay Day special. “Spay Day” is an international campaign of The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. Each February, animal shelters and animal welfare agencies worldwide join forces to promote spaying and neutering of pets as the most effective and humane ways to decrease the euthanasia of homeless animals in shelters throughout the world.

There are several ways you can celebrate Spay Day in February and throughout the year:

  • Donate to the “Pet Population Control Fund” at the Seattle Animal Shelter. This fund provides financial assistance year-round to pet owners who cannot afford the cost of spaying and neutering. It needs to be replenished constantly to maintain the clinic’s ability to provide resources to those in need. Please consider making a donation to the Pet Population Control Fund to help the clinic continue to save lives.
  • Turn in a litter. As part of an ongoing Seattle Animal Shelter program, anyone who turns in a litter of puppies or kittens to the shelter is eligible for a free spay or neuter for the parent animal(s). In return, the shelter guarantees the adoption of the kittens and puppies, if they are adoptable.
  • Talk to your friends, neighbors and family about getting their pets spayed or neutered. Year-round the Seattle Animal Shelter’s Spay and Neuter Clinic can help those in need with discounted or free spay/neuter surgeries.

To obtain more information about Spay Day Seattle, to donate to the Pet Population Control Fund or to learn more about other Seattle Animal Shelter services, call 206-386-PETS (7387), or visit www.seattleanimalshelter.org.