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Guinea pigs may need rescuing after 'G-Force'

THE Disney movie "G-Force" shows a squad of specially trained, computer-generated guinea pig spies coming to the world's rescue. After the movie comes out, though, animal activists say it will be real life guinea pigs who need rescuing.

Some guinea pig rescue groups have already posted pleas to those who might rush out to buy the furry little rodents.

"I can tell you, every single rescue in the United States and abroad took a look at that movie trailer and said, 'Oh God, here we go'," said Whitney Potsus, vice president of The Critter Connection Inc, which is a non-profit group dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of abandoned and neglected guinea pigs in the US.

The Orange County Cavy (also known as guinea pig) Haven in Costa Mesa has already posted urgent Internet pleas to parents asking them to say no when their children beg for guinea pigs, because the animals are too fragile for young children.

It's happened before. Some call it "101 Dalmations syndrome," after the live-action Disney movie that sent many rushing to buy the black-and-white spotted pups. When the dogs failed to act like those in the movie, families gave them up, breeders said.

The popularity of Chihuahuas soared after the movies "Legally Blonde" and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and when Taco Bell featured a talking one in an ad campaign. Ferrets were the animal of choice after "Along Came Polly" and guinea pigs were in demand after "Bedtime Stories."

In "G-Force," which opened yesterday, agents Juarez, Darwin and Blaster drive cars, parachute, use blowtorches, swim, talk, walk on two legs, live in tanks with mice and rats and use hamster balls.

Lyn Zantow, a volunteer for the Orange County group, warns on her Website that in real life, guinea pigs are noisy, eat and poop all the time, require big and clean cages, don't swim and can be expensive to care for if they get sick. She also said they should be kept out of young children's hand.

"We can only hope ... parents will all do their research before bringing any critters home. Otherwise, when the novelty wears off, rescues everywhere are going to have their hands full with surrenders," Potsus said.


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