Almost 100 rabbits and guinea pigs left in “wet, dirty and cramped” conditions have been rescued.

The pets were found in squalid conditions in small hutches and makeshift pens, some of which lacked enough food and hay.

The RSPCA said it persuaded the owner to sign over 45 guinea pigs and 38 rabbits into its care so they could be rehomed.

The charity has also placed 15 guinea pigs with a foster carer and is continuing to work with the owner who has even more animals.

The Argus: Rabbits in the back of the RSPCA vanRabbits in the back of the RSPCA van (Image: RSPCA)

The rabbits were in a healthy condition but all the guinea pigs had a mite infestation and three were put down because of their condition after being rescued from the home in Bognor.

RSPCA inspector Rebecca Carter said: “This shows perfectly the problems you get when owners don’t get on top of the situation and how quickly things can spiral out of control. The owner had started with two rabbits but didn’t realise one was male and the other female and soon there were many more.

“The numbers of guinea pigs had grown for several reasons. The owner’s friends left guinea pigs with her and she had also bred some litters.

"It is much harder to rehome male guinea pigs so she had been left with so many which made up most of the guinea pigs found on the property. 

“The conditions were wet, dirty and cramped and weren't helped by the rapid escalation in animals. Things had got totally out of control.

The Argus: Three of the guinea pigs were put downThree of the guinea pigs were put down (Image: RSPCA)

“We needed to take these animals to ensure they receive better care in new homes. Rabbits breed very quickly and can do so from 12 weeks.

"Females are very fertile as was illustrated when we found a female rabbit with two different litters lying on top of each other.

“The owner was really upset that things had escalated and was trying to get the numbers of animals down. We are working with her now to reduce the numbers further.”

The RSPCA has urged rabbit owners to prevent the growth of unwanted litters by neutering and sexing their pets after the charity fielded a 48 per cent rise in the numbers arriving at its animal centres and branches last year. Many of these are full to capacity while rehoming rates from branches dropped by 23 per cent between 2019 and 2022.