The Watertown Humane Society is asking for help.
Since June 28 when the Watertown police and health department investigated an odor complaint coming from a residence at 607 N. Second St., the humane society was called upon to remove 139 guinea pigs and 57 rabbits from the home and take them into their custody.
While the case remains under investigation and its closure isn’t likely to happen soon, the humane society is caring for the animals.
“The police seized them and our contract clearly states we have to take them,” said Katie Osborne, president of the Watertown Humane Society’s board of directors. “This is a police case and we are following orders. We didn’t steal or take anyone’s animals.”
She said the number of guinea pigs and rabbits the humane society took in is one of the largest its ever housed.
Osborne said the numbers of those animals could easily increase.
“We have five pregnant rabbits and several pregnant guinea pigs,” she said.
Osborne said the animals are not available for adoption at this time.
“We have to keep them until a court decides what is best for the animals and the case comes to a close,” Osborne said. “It’s overwhelming, but with the number of volunteers who came forward really helps our staff. There are a lot of great people out there that want to help us.”
She said the Watertown Humane Society has a staff of two full-time and seven part-time employees.
“We also had groomers come out to take care of the rabbits, who have had matted fur or tangled coats,” she said. “Just because they look healthy on the outside it doesn’t mean they are healthy on the inside.”
Osborne admitted the additional work has put some added stress on the staff.
She said every day the cages get washed, wiped down and disinfected with vinegar. The animals also get new dishes that have been sanitized along with new bedding, clean litter pans, fresh water and food twice a day.
On Thursdays when the shelter is closed the offices and the building’s different rooms are cleaned thoroughly.
Osborne said there are currently three rooms that are occupied by guinea pigs and another two with rabbits.
She said contractors will be coming out to the humane society in the near future to construct new shelving in the garage where all of the guinea pigs and rabbits that were removed from the Watertown home can be kept.
Osborne said supplies are running low for the animals and made a plea to the public.
She said the humane society will take monetary donations in any amount including gift cards from Tractor Supply, Walmart, Farm and Fleet and any pet store. She said the humane society can also use discarded newspaper, which is used to line the rabbit cages.
Osborne said donations can also be made to the humane society’s GoFundMe account on their website watertownhumanesociety.org to help offset some of the costs associated with the guinea pigs and rabbits.
The humane society will also take equine pellet bedding that does not come with cedar, maple or aspen bedding, timothy hay which aids the animals in digestion and/or guinea pig or rabbit food.
For those interested in volunteering or donating money or goods they are urged to call the humane society at 920-261-1270.