Ms Aarthi Sankar, SPCA’s executive director, said: “One guinea pig was also found dead under the bags with a swarm of flies surrounding it.”
The remaining guinea pigs were taken to SPCA’s Community Animal Clinic for medical checks, Ms Sankar added.
SPCA thanked the caller – who also found another two guinea pigs the next day on Feb 10 – saying that the guinea pigs may not survive if left abandoned without food, water and proper shelter.
Eight of the guinea pigs are being fostered by SPCA staff members and volunteers until they are ready for adoption, while the remaining eight are in the care of Guinea Pig Rescue Singapore, Ms Sankar said.
“They had been abandoned without any provisions, putting them at risk of traffic accidents, wild animal attacks, and exposed to harsh weather conditions,” she added.
Some people commenting on SPCA’s Instagram post said that harsher penalties should be imposed on animal abusers to tackle the issue of animal cruelty.
Ms Sankar said: “We are incredibly saddened and disturbed by this incident. If you are unable to care for your pets because of personal reasons, it is your responsibility to find them safe homes.”
SPCA added that abandonment cases have been increasing over the years, especially involving smaller mammals such as rabbits and hamsters.
“These animals are not microchipped, so it can be a challenge to determine if they are lost or abandoned.
“Pet adopters and guardians are urged to understand that owning a pet is a lifetime commitment and to be responsible for their pet,” Ms Sankar said.
SPCA said that the incident was posted on Instagram about a month after it was alerted because it wanted to ensure that the health conditions of the guinea pigs were stabilised.
Under the Animals and Birds Act, anyone found guilty of pet abandonment can be fined up to S$10,000 or be jailed for up to 12 months, or both.
SPCA does not have enforcement powers under the Act and serious cases that warrant further action are referred to the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) or the police.
In response to TODAY’s queries, AVS said that it was alerted to a case of 17 guinea pigs that were allegedly abandoned.
Its group director Jessica Kwok said: “AVS takes a serious view of pet abandonment and investigations are currently ongoing.
“Anyone with information related to this case or any suspected cases of pet abandonment can contact AVS through its website at www.avs.gov.sg/feedback or call the Animal Response Centre at 1800-476-1600.”
Members of the public are advised to seek help from animal welfare groups such as SPCA or visit www.spca.org.sg/services/rehoming if they need help with their pets.
This story was originally published in TODAY.