Two guinea pigs named Jingle and Noel who were thrown out with the rubbish have been hailed as an early ‘Christmas miracle’ – after being saved on collection day.
The pair cheated death after being sealed in a cardboard box by their heartless owners and chucked in a bin.
They were discovered by a shocked resident who noticed a package that didn’t belong to her just moments before the refuse collectors arrived.
She said they were minutes away from being taken away and crushed to death by the refuse cart.
But Jingle and Noel are now being looked after at an animal rescue centre and said to be recovering well from their ordeal.
The woman who found them in her bin in Littlehempston, Devon, said she was shocked at the discovery.
She said: “I had put my bins and recycling out the night before, but I went out in the morning with some last few bits of rubbish just before the refuse collectors arrived.
“I noticed a taped up cardboard box inside the black landfill bin that wasn’t mine, and I wondered if a delivery driver had placed the parcel there instead of knocking on my door.
“I picked up the box to see but as soon as I lifted it I realised the box was moving. Much to my surprise, when I opened it I found two rather sweet guinea pigs looking back at me! I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing.
“I called Animals in Distress and they were able to take in the guinea pigs straight away. I still can’t believe it happened.
“A few minutes later and they would have been crushed to death in the refuse cart, as no-one would have known they were there.”
Animals in Distress is currently looking after the guinea pigs at its rescue centre in Ipplepen, Devon.
They described it as “very sweet and friendly.”
A spokesperson said: “We are really sad and quite horrified to tell you that they had been sealed in a cardboard box and thrown into a rubbish bin last week – on the morning of bin collection day.
“Thankfully Jingle and Noel were discovered in the nick of time, just before the bin men arrived.
“The two guinea pigs, who rescue centre staff have named Jingle and Noel, settled quickly into their new temporary home at our rescue centre and we are happy to report that they are both doing very well.
“When they arrived they were very emaciated, under their fur they are all skin and bone. They were starving and ran straight to their food bowl to eat, rather than hiding away as most guinea pigs do when they first arrive.
“They were covered in mites, but after a much-needed bath and groom they are looking lovely and fluffy and they are already putting on weight.”
The guinea pigs will stay at the rescue centre until they have fully recovered and will then be rehomed from its waiting list.
The spokesperson added: “They are very friendly and sweet little guinea pigs and it’s such a shame that this would happen to them.
“They are so lucky that the woman went out to her bin that morning, as they were minutes away from a really horrible death.
“How anyone could do this is beyond all of us – it’s so unnecessary as there are many rescue centres who will take animals in.”