A mother has claimed she will never step foot back at a charity farm again after they “neglected” her daughter’s pet hamster in a “dark and dingy cupboard”.
Rosie Reid paid £40 to leave her 15-year-old daughter Kate’s beloved Douglas at Gorgie City Farm’s pet boarding service while they enjoyed a ten-day holiday.
But when Ms Reid was reunited with Douglas on Sunday, she was hit by an almighty pong coming from his cage with the poor rodent sat in its own faeces.
She is concerned for the health of Douglas with possibility he has “wet tail”, a bacterial infection that can be fatal to hamsters. The disgusted mum has now called the Scottish SPCA which has launched an investigation into the incident.
Ms Reid, from Loanhead, said: “On getting Douglas home we saw that his ‘pee corner’ had not been removed in what looked like a whole week. It was disgusting. His shavings were wet and he has obviously been neglected as he was definitely not cleaned at all.
“On cleaning Douglas the bedding is the same bedding, with last week’s green bean in too, which, to me, is 100 per cent proof that this little hamster was put in a corner and forgotten about. He was not given any treats, put in his ball or even his water changed.”
Having previously experienced having a hamster being put down due to contracting wet tail, Rosie is hoping his traumatic experience will not end in the same fate.
She said: “They had a duty of care to look after Douglas, who is Kate’s heart and soul.
“I will hold them responsible if something happens to Douglas as a result of this.”
Boarding animals at the farm, which include guinea pigs, rabbits, poultry, rodents and exotics, are cared for by trained staff alongside volunteers and veterinary students.
The website says it provides all food and bedding for rodents within its Pet Lodge – a room described by Ms Reid as dark and dingy.
She added: “When I dropped him off he was put on top of a filing cabinet in this dark room with only a small window alongside other cages, with some on the floor.
“The volunteers were very friendly and I was assured he would be in ‘good hands’ and would be attended to twice a day. I was delighted to know Douglas was going to a charity to be looked after. But I just don’t understand how Douglas was left without attention for that long. I won’t step foot in that place again.”
Gorgie City Farm has apologised to Ms Reid for the incident and has offered to refund the £40 boarding fee which was charged.
Jim Dendy, farm and estates manager, told Ms Reid: “For any failings on this occasion we apologise without reserve. We have a morning routine of feeding, water changing, cleaning out and health checking. It would appear that the current routine, which should mean that every animal is tended to twice a day at least, has not been sufficiently stringent.
“Having discussed this apparent lapse with staff I am revising the procedures to incorporate an individual checklist. All involved staff have also been alerted to the issues raised and these staff will be extra vigilant that each boarder gets the level of care we, and you, expect from all the team here.”
Scottish SPCA Inspector Stuart Murray said: “We can confirm we have been alerted to an incident regarding a hamster in South-West Edinburgh and our inquiries are currently ongoing.”