A large group of pet rats have survived after they were abandoned in two rabbit hutches which are thought to have been deliberately set on fire in Bruton Park in Rhyl.
The RSPCA was alerted after the rodents were found on a basketball court at the Trellewelyn Road play park at about 6.30am last Wednesday (24 August).
Evidence from the scene suggested that both hutches – which were charred and blackened at the base – had been deliberately set on fire. Newspaper had been placed inside, and a piece of plastic which may have been used to try to ignite the blaze, was also found nearby.
Luckily the fires didn’t take hold and the rats – nine males in one hutch and six females in the other – all survived and are doing well in RSPCA care after being checked over by a vet. The charity will find loving homes for them all in due course.
The shocking incident comes as the RSPCA’s Cancel out Cruelty campaign has revealed that 1,554 reports of abandoned animals were made to the charity in Wales between January and July 2022, a rise of 23 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Animal rescue officer (ARO) John Littlewood collected the rats – which had been taken to the finder’s house in the town – later that afternoon.
He said: “It appears that both hutches were set on fire while the rats were still inside. Both enclosures smelt of some sort of accelerant and there was fire damage visible to the doors and base.
“Thankfully the fires didn’t spread, although some of the females suffered singed whiskers and fur, but none of them were seriously injured.
“From looking at the barren and dirty conditions inside, I would say that all of them had been living in these hutches for some time with no opportunities for these highly intelligent animals to climb, nest, forage or explore.
“It’s shocking and incomprehensible that someone has abandoned these pets and then attempted to set fire to them. There would have been no escape had the blaze taken hold, and they would have suffered a horrible and painful death.”
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
Nationally, the RSPCA received more than 100 reports of animals being abandoned every single day throughout 2021 and sadly these figures are on the rise this year.
A total of 38,087 reports concerning animals that had been abandoned were made to the charity’s cruelty line last year – an average of over 3,000 reports a month, 104 a day or four abandoned animals every hour.
The RSPCA’s rescue teams need support to stay out on the frontline as the only charity rescuing animals and investigating cruelty:
£2 could help to provide a meal for a dog in our care
£6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in our care
£10 could help pay towards bandages for a dog
£15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam
£500 could kit out a 4×4 inspector van
Our frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can’t do it alone – we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, visit: www.rspca.org.uk/stopcruelty.