550 Gerbils Rescued From Home

Insert your own Richard Gere joke here.

An animal welfare group confiscated 550 gerbils that had been kept in stacked containers in a small house in southern England, and asked the British public for help in caring for the animals.

The gerbils were found in a variety of cages and makeshift containers, including badly ventilated wine boxes, stacked to heights of more than 6 feet throughout the one-bedroom home in Portsmouth, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“The hallway was full, and there were about 35 containers in the bathroom alone,” group inspector Mick Garrity said. “The male and female gerbils had not been separated, so they were continuing to just breed and breed.” Many of the animals were in poor condition and needed veterinary attention.

The owners of the house agreed Tuesday to hand the animals over to the animal welfare group, which took them to a nearby animal shelter in Fareham. “Many of the females will be pregnant, so it is possible that we will see the number of animals double, creating even more of a problem,” shelter manager Mike Ward said. “With so many gerbils to care for, our staff have been stretched to the limit.”

Group Takes 550 Gerbils From Small House [AP]