KITV4 by Diane Ako: There’s another animal overpopulation issue on Maui. This one concerns guinea pigs. Shelters say they’re overrun with the small critters.
These are the guinea pigs at Maui’s Leilani Farm Sanctuary. Board member Dave Raatz says, “At Leilani Farm Sanctuary we’re maxed out. We have over 400 animals and are hard pressed to take any more, but we have been taking a few guinea pigs from Maui Humane Society.”
For the last year, says Raatz, it’s been doing this to help out. It’s taken a couple dozen so far. “It’s a very urgent problem. Maui is getting overrun with guinea pigs, and it’s too much for the Maui Humane Society,” he notes.
Maui Humane Society’s marketing director Katie Shannon agrees, “We saw this initial increase mid-June when someone surrendered nearly 30 guinea pigs to us.”
Maui Humane Society says it’s actually a guinea pig and rabbit problem, and right now, has over 50 of the small animals. It has capacity for only 20. Shannon says it could be that more people got guinea pigs during COVID, and didn’t realize they were putting male and female pigs together. “Because it is so hard to gender animals, perhaps people acquired animals during COVID, placed them in the same housing, and now they’re really seeing the issue come about,” Shannon explains.
Raatz has a different theory. “It appears to be a problem of Petco selling guinea pigs from breeders. We’re urging them to stop that practice. The local pet shops have stopped, but the national chain here on Maui is still engaged in that practice,” he says.
We contacted Petco on Sunday, and again Thursday, for a comment and have not heard back. Shannon says she can’t speak to that and in fact, Petco is a financial sponsor. “We have Petco Adoption Days at Petco Kahului on a monthly basis. Our next one is November 19th,” she says.
No matter what the cause is, it’s clear there is an overpopulation, and Shannon urges people to help solve it. “We are asking people if they don’t have to surrender their pets to not bring it in,” she pleads, adding that the shelter is seeking foster homes. That, she says, applies to all animals, not just the small ones.