CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Melissa Stanley lathers up the hair of a guinea pig she affectionately calls Mamacita. Shampoo sessions like this one have become common at the Richmond Wildlife Center, where nearly 20 guinea pigs are receiving rehabilitative and tender loving care.
“All right, Mama,” she tells the guinea pig. “You haven’t had a bath since you had your babies.”
Mamacita was one of about 500 animals rescued from what investigators called “deplorable conditions” at a 40-acre farm on West Old Mountain Road in late November.
“They were overcrowded and crammed, hungry,” Stanley describes. “When you put animals together in such small spaces, they’re gonna fight for room and space.”
Stanley says the Center took in nearly 90 animals, including the guinea pigs. Many of them had wounds and various health issues.
“There were multiple problems with the eyes,” explains Dr. Michael Blair, a veterinary ophthalmologist with Animal Eye Care of Richmond.
His practice donated exams for the guinea pigs. Nine of them are being treated for issues with their eye lids, cataracts or shrunken eyes.
“When they’re, you know, kept in close quarters with too many animals, the eyes can get injured and you can end up with an eye that shrinks or atrophies and gets smaller than normal,” Dr. Blair says.
Adds Stanley, “There may come a time when some of these guinea pigs go completely blind.”
The conditions mean the Center is looking for homes ready to take care of the guinea pigs’ special needs.
Stanley says they will be available for adoption in about a month.
“They’re all super lovable,” she squeezes Mamacita. “Every single one of them.”
For adoption information, contact the Richmond Wildlife Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is also accepting donations for the guinea pigs. It especially needs romaine lettuce and other foods that are part of the diet of the rescued animals.
Follow this link for information on how to help.