Two gerbils are being cared for by the RSPCA after being heartlessly dumped near bins in Milton Keynes.
The shivering and scared creatures were spotted by a member of the public in Hainault Avenue on Giffard Park.
They had been "dumped like rubbish" in their cage and there was a small amount of water and food in there, says the RSPCA.
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The gerbils are now being cared for by a kind RSPCA fosterer and the RSPCA is appealing for information to help them trace the person who abandoned them.
The charity's Animal Rescue Officer Rebecca Frost went to Hainault Avenue when the gerbils were found, on Tuesday November 23 at around 5pm.
She said they were discovered on a stairwell leading to one of the flats, which is right next to a public walkway and cycle route which many people could easily access.
“These poor gerbils were dumped like rubbish and abandoned inside their cage outside some flats in Milton Keynes. They were cold and scared but thankfully a member of the public spotted them and brought them into their flat before calling us.
Rebecca added: “These two gerbils are now getting the care and attention they need with a kind fosterer at the RSPCA MIlton Keynes branch before they’re ready to be rehomed.
“I am now appealing for anyone with information on how these gerbils came to be abandoned to please get in touch with me on the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
“We know that sometimes people’s circumstances can change which may mean they can no longer care for their pets but there is never an excuse to abandon an animal like this, at any time of year, but especially in this cold weather.”
Last year in Buckinghamshire, there were 20 reports of animals being abandoned last winter - including six in December.
Abandonments have risen by around 20% this year compared to 2020 figures during recent months and the charity is worried that soaring pet ownership during the pandemic could mean a surge of abandoned pets as people return to normal working life.
To Join the Christmas Rescue and help RSPCA rescuers be there for the animals in need this winter, visit here .