BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Animal advocates tell News 8 people are threatening to leave their pets outside in the cold because shelters are full.

Several rescue groups are bursting at the seams with what they call “pocket pets.” These are small animals who live in cages like guinea pigs, hamsters, mice and rabbits.

Not all shelters take these critters in and the ones that do are full.

Down at Branford’s Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter, they said from July to November alone, they took in nearly 100 of these animals. That is what they usually do over the course of an entire year. When people call looking to drop them off, they’re not always kind.

“So when we explain to them that we could certainly put them on a waiting list or give them other shelters they could try, they say they don’t want to do that and they’re just going to dump them outside,” said Laura Burban, director of Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter. “We explain to them that not only is that immoral and unethical, it’s illegal and they certainly shouldn’t do that to an animal who can’t defend itself.”

They believe the reason is because during 2020, people were home more and thought an animal would be a good idea, not really doing the research beforehand.