Boston City Council Wants to Ban Sale of Guinea Pigs in Pet Stores

The Boston City Council on Monday will hear a proposal that would ban the sale of guinea pigs in the city after significant numbers of pets were abandoned as the pandemic came to an end. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

With guinea pigs reportedly being surrendered more than ever, the Boston City Council is trying to do what it can to make sure the little critters are getting the best possible care.

That’s the focus behind a proposed ordinance before the council that wants to ban the sale of guinea pigs in pet stores across the city.

The council’s Government Business Committee is due to hear comments from animal welfare leaders and advocates on Monday about the proposal, tabled by councilor Liz Breadon last March.

City officials passed a “pet shop” ordinance in 2016, banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits, except in partnership with an animal shelter or rescue organization. It left guinea pigs, a “significant share” of which come from large-scale, out-of-state commercial breeding facilities and brokers,” according to the proposed ordinance.

A dozen other cities and towns followed Boston’s original ordinance, including Cambridge and Attleboro, which went further by banning pet stores from selling guinea pigs.

“Pet shelters across the country have seen an influx of guinea pigs surrendered since the COVID-19 pandemic, with Animal Care Centers of New York reporting that guinea pig surrenders have doubled since 2019,” the proposed ordinance states. .

The increase is being felt in Boston, Breadon notes in the ordinance, with the city’s Animal Care and Control reporting significant year-over-year hiring increases from 2020 to 2022.

Boston 311 data reveals an increase in cases over the past two years, and the MSPCA-Angell reported in July 2022 that it “received more than 210 guinea pigs and rabbits over a three-month period.”

“Amending the Code, City of Boston Ordinances, to include guinea pigs in prohibited pet shop sales will improve animal welfare by helping to address the growing scale of small pet surrenders,” Breadon wrote.

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