ANIMAL rescuers were given the run-around for three hours by two abandoned guinea pigs.
The elusive pair made a bid for freedom as RSPCA inspectors tried to catch them after they had survived for two weeks under garden decking.
The RSPCA received a call from a member of the public who had spotted the animals in Cornwell Close and believed they had been in the area for around a fortnight, sheltering beneath the garden deck.
Inspector Sandra Dransfield went to the scene and discovered an abandoned hutch nearby, from which the guinea pigs had apparently made their escape.
“They were incredibly lucky to have survived this long on their own,” she said.
"These are domestic pets and are not used to fending for themselves or battling against the elements, so I knew we needed to catch them quickly and bring them to safety.
“Catching them proved trickier than myself or the caller imagined though and the two little piggies gave us quite the run-around.”
On her first visit to the spot, Sandra spotted no sign of the discarded pets until she was about to leave.
After stopping to talking to the member of the public, she was surprised when one of the guinea pigs appeared at their feet.
“It was just typical that they would appear when we weren’t ready, with no cage or equipment in hand,” she said.
“As soon as I tried to pick him up the elusive guinea pig ran off under the decking.
“I returned the next day and blocked off the decking with the kind help of the caller and her daughter.
“The piggies were now in a nearby dense bush (pictured below), which was difficult to see inside.
“We were fooled by a child’s toy that had been thrown into the bush and I grabbed it before quickly realising it definitely was not a guinea pig.
“Finally, we managed to catch the first guinea pig and put him in a cage whilst we searched for the second.
“It took over three hours before both pigs were safely in our care.
“I was concerned that the temperature would plummet, and they wouldn’t survive the night, so I was so pleased that we managed to catch them when we did.”
The two male guinea pigs were found to be healthy but a little underweight.
They were fostered with RSPCA inspector Kim Greaves for a couple of days and then transferred to the RSPCA Derby branch for further care.
Sandra added: “We know that people’s circumstances can change which may mean they can no longer care for their pets but there is never an excuse to abandon them like this.”
If anyone has any information about how these guinea pigs came to be abandoned, or if anyone saw anything suspicious around Cornwell Close during the first two weeks of October, call the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.