It may soon be illegal to buy a guinea pig in New York.
A city council bill to ban the sale of guinea pigs as pets has been signed by 34 of the 51 council members. The law was introduced by councilor Diana Ayala, who told The City that a hearing will take place this fall.
The potential bill is backed by animal activists and shelters who have seen record numbers of guinea pigs abandoned after being purchased as companions in confinement during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This isn’t the first time the sale of pets has been banned in New York. In 2016, pet stores were banned from selling rabbits after shelters became overcrowded with abandoned animals.
About 600 guinea pigs have been turned over to animal shelters in the city so far in 2022, while only 281 have been turned over during the same period in 2019, according to The City, which reported that a lack of neutered guinea pigs and sterilized has also caused a significant increase in pregnancies.
Rodents have also been abandoned by their owners across the city. Last week, nine guinea pigs were found in Hudson River Park after being abandoned by their owner.