The RSPCA is appealing for information after five guinea pigs – one of them a week-old baby – were found dumped in a lay-by.
The animals were discovered in the York Road area of Flaxby, near Knaresborough, on Monday, January 29.
They are thought to have been abandoned the previous night in two cardboard boxes that were then damaged by rain, allowing them to get free.
RSPCA animal collection officer Alan Farr said: “They were running around a patch of brambles so we had the difficult task of rounding them up.
“Two of my colleagues came to help and between us we managed to rescue them all.
“Temperatures dropped to zero not long after we got them tucked up safe and warm, which would have been disastrous for them, if they hadn’t been run over or eaten by something first. They were very lucky.
“We want to hear from anyone who knows who dumped these small, defenceless animals like this.”
One of the adults and the baby have already been adopted.
The other three guinea pigs have been transferred to the RSPCA centre at Great Ayton in North Yorkshire.
Anyone with information is asked to ring the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.