Australian RSPCA seizes 150 pets hoarded in Canberra home

SYDNEY (AFP) - Some 150 pets including mice, rats and guinea pigs have been found in an Australian home, an animal welfare group said Wednesday as it warned about the hoarding of animals.

The RSPCA said the small creatures, which also included ducks and other birds, were seized from the house in the capital Canberra.

"We ended up with four truckloads full of animals," Tammy Ven Dange, chief executive of the RSPCA in the Australian Capital Territory, told AFP.

No details about their condition or who lived in the house were given with the case potentially heading to court.

However, there is no law limiting the number of small animals someone can have unless there are welfare concerns, Ven Dange said.

"These small animals, if somebody has 100 healthy guinea pigs or whatever we can't do a thing about it," Ven Dange said. "We can only get involved where there's a welfare issue and usually that takes these kinds of crazy numbers before it gets that out of hand."

Ven Dange said residents in the territory were restricted to owning only three cats and three dogs unless they had a breeding license.

"There is that limitation on cats and dogs - if somebody has more than three you can do something about it," she said.

Ven Dange said the RSPCA had dealt with three hoarding cases involving animals other than cats and dogs in the last six months. In each case, at least 90 animals were found.

The issue of hoarding has become more prevalent in recent years, with some estimates putting the number of Australians with a significant problem at one to two per cent of the population.

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