A PAIR of rats were carried through a shopping centre inside a cardboard box and then dumped in the toilets.
The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after a box containing the two animals was left in a cubicle at the St James Centre in Edinburgh on Wednesday.
The charity was alerted after a woman was spotted leaving an object in the female toilet.
The two male domestic rats – one brown and white and one golden – were rescued and are now in the care of the Edinburgh Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Balerno, Edinburgh.
Inspector Emma Phillips said: “Security workers at the centre were able to see a woman on CCTV cameras go into the toilets with a box at around 5pm on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately there wasn’t a clear picture of her face as she seemed to be aware of the cameras.
“Both of the rats are in good condition which suggests they had been well looked after until this point.
“Inside the box was a carrier bag and rabbit food. On the box itself there was a lot of writing which appears to be in Polish.
“We would urge anyone who recognises the rats to get in touch with us.
“It’s sad these animals have been dumped like this and we’ll continue to care for them until we can find them the home they deserve.”
In 2014, a total of 850 rodents were rehomed by the SSPCA, including hundreds of pet rats who had been kept in appalling conditions by their previous owner.
Abandoning and causing an animal unnecessary suffering animal is an offence under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and anyone found guilty of doing so can expect to be banned from keeping animals for a fixed period or life.
Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.