The Associated Press reports an animal shelter in the Finger Lakes is teeming with rats, mice, gerbils and guinea pigs after humane officers found more than 300 of the small mammals abandoned along roads.

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Getty Images

The SPCA of Tompkins County says the rodents were found November 17 huddled on the ground beside two roads in the towns of Danby and Dryden, near Ithaca. Many had died of exposure or from ailments related to overcrowded cages and lack of water.

Joe Hoffer, an SPCA investigator, says the animals were probably being bred to be sold to pet stores as “feeder” animals for reptiles to eat. He said the person who dumped them will face several hundred charges if caught.

About 200 surviving animals are being cared for by the SPCA, which is reaching out to rescue groups for help.

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