The RSPCA is urging people to carefully consider the needs of a pet before taking one on – after three hamsters were dumped on a Birmingham street in a shoebox which had “free hamsters” written on it.

The hamsters were left on a footbridge over a ford in the Sarehole Mill area. There were three hamsters in the box – but the lid was open, so there may have been more who escaped.

Rachel Butler, RSPCA spokeswoman for Birmingham, said: “It’s terrible to think that someone thought it would be OK to dump these animals like this and then offering them to passers-by as free to take – they could have fallen into the completely wrong hands.

“Thankfully the person who found them contacted us, and the hamsters were taken into one of our branches.

“Ironically inside the box with the hamsters was a leaflet on how to look after them – a leaflet which had been written by the RSPCA and Pets At Home. We would never, ever suggest abandoning animals. What we would say is that we would encourage people to think very carefully before getting a pet and to thoroughly research their needs. Pets are a long-term commitment and you need to be sure you can look after them for their whole lives.”

The hamsters, who were named Clarkes, Jimmy Choo and Doc Marten, went to the RSPCA’s Derby branch after they were picked up on 23 December. They have now been rehomed with loving new owners.

Anyone who has any information on who dumped the hamsters should contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.

For more information about looking after hamsters, visit the RSPCA’s website.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.