Abandoned guinea pigs rescued from Hudson River Park

Nine guinea pigs were unceremoniously dumped and abandoned at Hudson River Park this week, and are now resting in the city’s animal shelter system as they await a new-and-improved human companion.

The adorable critters were found perusing the vegetation at Pier 66 in Hudson River Park on Wednesday. Molly Harris, an immigration lawyer from Chelsea, was jogging along the river with her girlfriend, like they do every Wednesday, when they noticed a few furry ones on the side of the path, and saw people further down apparently tending to some more. 

It was immediately clear to Harris and the others gathered that the guinea pigs were abandoned pets, she told amNewYork Metro.

“We all immediately knew they were domesticated pets that had been dumped,” Harris said. “They were cuddly, clean, they just did not look at all wild.”

After the assembled admirers attempted to contact veterinarians and shelters, and attempted to keep them from escaping, the guinea pigs were rescued by Parks Department urban rangers and staff from the Animal Care Centers of New York, a network of animal shelters. The nine rodents were taken to ACC’s East Harlem shelter, joining 62 other guinea pigs in the system’s care.

While ACC agreed that it was evident the guinea pigs had been dumped, it is unclear who exactly the dumper was, or when they did the deed.

“We are unable to confirm how the guinea pigs ended up in the park,” said ACC spokesperson Katy Hansen. “However we would remind people that pet abandonment is illegal in NYC. Not only is it illegal but it is inhumane.”

An NYPD spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

A guinea pig under the care of Animal Care Centers.Animal Care Centers of NYC

Animal abandonment is all too common in New York. Thousands of dogs and cats enter the city’s shelter system each year, many abandoned by pet owners whose love for their furry one was only fleeting. ACC rescued 6,740 stray or abandoned animals in 2021, Hansen said, though that doesn’t count animals taken in by other shelters or by individuals, or those that remain on the street.

The phenomenon is not limited to mammals, either: the vast majority of turtles in the waters of Central and Prospect Park are actually either abandoned pets or their descendants.

Animal rights activists are presently lobbying the City Council to ban the sale of guinea pigs from pet stores, and instead promote adoption from shelters. Allie Taylor, president of Voters for Animal Rights, said that the abandonment of the nine critters serves as an example of why the bill is necessary.

“Yesterday’s incident where 9 guinea pigs were abandoned in a park illustrates the urgent need for Speaker Adrienne Adams to immediately call a hearing on Intro 4, legislation that would prohibit pet stores from selling guinea pigs and promote adoption from shelters and rescues,” Taylor said. “It represents a critical step towards ensuring that all animals have safe homes while also reducing the burden on our city’s overwhelmed shelter system.”

For now, the guinea pigs will remain in the care of ACC. Preliminary examinations did not uncover any medical concerns among the pack.