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A city overrun by guinea pigs: Councilor proposes banning Boston pet shops from selling them

City Councilor Liz Breadon (Allston/Brighton) today proposed banning local pet shops - including one in her district - from selling guinea pigs, which she says are beginning to overwhelm local animal shelters, and which are now even showing up on Boston streets as strays.

Breadon, who sponsored her measure on behalf of the MSPCA, said 311 data shows growing numbers of feral guinea pigs roaming the streets since the start of the pandemic, with "reports coming from all across the city, including Allston, Fenway, Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan and Mission Hill."

Breadon said that since 2020, the MSPCA has seen a 37% increase in guinea pigs being handed over by people who no longer want them or who can no longer care for them.

And once in cages inside the Angell facility, they spend twice as much time awaiting adoption as dogs or cats, which means cages fill up with no room to take in additional guinea pigs, she said.

Her proposal would still let pet stores set aside space for guinea pigs, but only if the animals come from local shelters - and only if they agree not to add anything to the fees those shelters would charge.

Her proposal would also allow sales by those shelters or by groups such as 4H, if there are any such groups active in Boston.

Breadon noted that there is a precedent: In 2016, Boston became the first municipality in the state to restrict the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at Boston pet stores. Her proposed ordinance, in fact, would simply modify the existing dog/cat/rabbit ban by adding guinea pigs to the list of restricted animals.

The proposal now goes to a city-council committee for study and a hearing before coming back to the council for a vote.



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Ban all dogs as they serve no purpose, less working dogs.

Voting closed 10

From pet stores is already banned. Try reading the article first before you post.

Voting closed 49

They serve no purpose.

Voting closed 46

like to have dog owners who let their dogs unload on sidewalks and parks

flogged on Boston Common. Ten lashes.

Voting closed 7

I hope it passes.

Voting closed 26

During the lockdown, people stocked up on pets. Now that things are going back to normal, people (who suck) are getting rid of pets. The situation will reach equilibrium on its own.

Voting closed 13

If there's stray guinea pigs, then they won't be for sale anymore, because people will be able to adopt them for free.

Market 1, government 0. I'm sorry that I voted for Liz before I moved away. I tried, Boston. I didn't know she was a dolt.

Voting closed 4

All questions of whether this particular move is stupid aside, Liz Breaden told us all loud and clear from day one: "Either I am an idiot, or I think you are all marks"

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You still have to pay adoption fees.
The point is to get the ones already in shelters adopted and stop breeders from breeding more for profit.

Voting closed 17

The whole concept of the market as a triumphant force because of enlightened self interest doesn't work with animals, who don't understand things like free enterprise..... The guinea pigs can't CHOOSE to walk away from the stores and go sell themselves at a superior shop. Animal welfare is a moral responsibility humans agreed to undertake when we domesticated these species and if unregulated, sketchily supplied petstores are facilitating what's essentially large scale animal abandonment and abuse, the government has a right to regulate that.

There's lots of places in this country where the problems with feral animals and abandoned pet colonies have gotten so bad that it is a major detriment not just to the animals but the community. Feral cat colonies can spread disease, disrupt the neighborhood, decimate their local environment - all while suffering, massively, because nobody stepped in while the problem was still manageable and even now in most places it's hard working volunteers trying to hold back a flood with a piece of cardboard. If we have an opportunity to address the guinea pigs before we have wild feral populations, that's better.

Personally I'd like to see the council limit all the commercial sale of animals. The state that most pet store fish are kept in is literally torture, and animal abuse.

Voting closed 3

So we've got a surfeit of guinea pigs, while biotech real estate developers are breeding more lab space like rabbits. I feel like there should be some synergy possible here -- pre-populated labs! But I'm opposed to unnecessary animal testing, so I suggest we skip the middlemammal, and deploy the real estate speculators as test subjects.

Voting closed 23

Can we add in that loser from Stash's?

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I am surprised the Coyotes have not handled that issue

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You can eat them. Just saying…

Voting closed 12

In fact, here's an article about just that -- cuy in South America...


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I'm guessing that if we had a feral dog problem

You probably wouldn't say

"You can eat them, just saying."

Even though you can eat them. Many cultures do.

Voting closed 4