DOZENS of guinea pigs have been found dead at a rural site in Warrington.
The RSPCA is appealing for information from members of the public after the bodies of 30 animals were discovered at a badger sett by the Wirral and Cheshire Badger Group.
Inspector Jenny Bethel visited the location on Sunday, May 15, and found the pets ‘in varying states of decay piled up on top of each other in the earth at the entrance to the sett’.
She said: “It is a really strange discovery to make and we are appealing for any information that could help us find out what happened to these guinea pigs.
“I removed two of the pets from the surface soil and took them to a vet, who examined them. I left the other bodies undisturbed, but they appear to be buried in a pile underneath each other.”
These two guinea pigs were not microchipped, and the site was not covered by CCTV cameras.
The charity has not disclosed the exact location of the sett, but said that the discovery was made in a ‘rural area close to Warrington’ after group members noticed fur protruding from the soil.
It is unclear whether the guinea pigs died at the same time and buried or whether they were placed in the ground alive, nor is it known whether the find was related to the ‘cruel and illegal activities’ of badger baiters.
Cheshire Police’s rural crime team have been informed of the incident, the RSPCA says.
Inspector Bethel added: “We have no idea at this point why the guinea pigs would be in this location.
“They were blocking one of the entrances to the sett, yet it doesn’t look like the badgers have shown any interest in them.
“We don’t know how long they have been there, but it may be they’ve been put there because there was a hole already there.
“It may be the case they haven’t been dumped all at the same time as they are in different stages of decay.
“We would like to hear from anyone who has seen suspicious activity in a rural area of Warrington or knows of someone who has owned a large number of guinea pigs over a period of time.”