All small pets (ferrets, rats, hamsters) deserve the same rights as bigger pets. They are still animals. A women in a group for small animals posted that her neighbor poisoned her pet rats, and admitted to it. After talking in the group we wanted to take a stand. They might be "pests" to people, but they are still loved by their owners. He had no right to enter their property, and kill their animals. The cops won't take it seriously. Help us have them understand.
This is why people (not the rescue) who can't take care of pets should not be allowed to own any! This is a sad story of where a small animal rescue was condemned all because some stupid people dropped off a box of rats outside their place without having the decency to contact them and arrange a drop-off. All of this could have been avoided D: There really need to be stricter laws as to who can own pets, who can breed them and who can purchase them to prevent unwanted animal problems like this! >:-/ Too often it is the rescues that are left to solve the problem of taking in unwanted pets due to bad pet owners :-(
Animal rescue condemned over damage caused by rats
Jon Mills, WZZM 10:09 a.m. EDT May 27, 2015
FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- The owner and operator of a small animal rescue in Fruitport Township was given until the end of Tuesday to find other homes for what could be more than 1,000 rats housed at the rescue along with other small animals.
The house on Airline Rd. near E. Mt. Garfield Rd., where Christine Bishop lives and operates Christine's Critter Cafe Rescue, was condemned this month because of significant structural damage
The rats are getting free from the rescue after chewing through walls.
Over the last two weeks Bishop estimates she's found foster homes for several hundred other rats.
Critter Cafe operated under a special ordinance variance that allowed no more than 80 small animals. An inspection this month found more than one dozen cats. The rescue's condition was reported to township leaders after someone went to Critter Cafe to make an adoption.
"Someone attempting to adopt a bird said we needed to rush over there because there is a horrific rat infestation," said Brian Wersham, Fruitport Township Supervisor.
Bishop says earlier this year someone dropped off a box of rats outside the home. Those rats weren't discovered right a way. Bishop says that one box of rats led to this.
"By the time they were found, they had already colonized in several different places," she said.
Police have an open investigation into alleged animal abuse and neglect. The state's Department of Natural Resources is also looking into the possibility some of the animals inside this home were wild and therefore illegal to keep as pets.
Supporters of the rescue hope police will turn their attention to finding the person who dropped off the rats here a few months ago.
The wife of Greg from this Kajiji ad threw one of the rats outdoors to die because it nipped her. She is denying some of the rats food and water. All rats are crammed into very tiny tanks etc I am speaking of the rats going as live snake food in shediac. There are approx. 12 boys and 12 girls. When people complained to the NBSPCA the investigator didn't seem to care because "they were just rats". :-( Well small pets are just as important and their lives matter too!
Rats Use Their Whiskers Like Humans Use Their Fingers
July 8, 2014 | by Justine Alford
Photo credit: Alexey Krasavin, via Wikimedia Commons
Researchers from the University of Sheffield have found that rats deliberately change the position and movement of their whiskers depending on various different factors, such as familiarity with the environment and the risk of bumping into objects, much like how a human uses hands and fingers. The findings therefore suggest that such whisker movement is under active control and is purposefully carried out in order to seek information. The study has been published in Current Biology.
Vibrissae are long, thick hairs found on almost all mammals, except humans, that are specialized for tactile (touch) sensing. While they’re found on various parts of the body, those located on the face (whiskers) are most frequently studied.
Rats and other small mammals are known to perform rhythmic back and forth sweeps of their whiskers during exploration (“whisking”), which is assumed to convey some sensory advantage to the animal. While it is known that this behavior allows the animal to locate interesting stimuli, to what extent the animals can deliberately modulate whisker movement was unknown. In particular, researchers did not know whether whisker control changes according to context, such as the availability of visual cues, which is a hallmark of “active sensing.”
In order to find out more, scientists trained rats, some of which were functionally blind, for several days to run circuits for food and then filmed them using high-speed videography. The researchers then observed how whisking changed according to certain variables, such as environmental familiarity and risk of collision with obstacles.
They found that blind rats in new environments moved slowly and performed broad, exploratory sweeps with their whiskers, but as the environment became more familiar they moved faster around the course and directed their whiskers in front of them, making smaller whisker movements in order to avoid unexpected collisions. Furthermore, in environments with increased risk of bumping into objects, blind rats pushed their whiskers further forward and moved more slowly, suggesting they were aware of the obstacles and changed their strategy accordingly.
They also discovered that sighted rats changed whisker control strategy as they got used to the environment and also when visual cues were removed by placing them in darkness.
Lead researcher Tony Prescott likened this behavior to how humans use their hands to detect obstacles whilst navigating in the dark. If the environment is familiar, humans will move faster than in novel environments, holding out their hands in front of them to avoid crashing into unexpected objects.
“All mammals except humans use facial whiskers as touch sensors. In humans we seem to have replaced this sense, in part, by being able to use our hand and fingers to feel our way,” added Prescott. “The rat puts its whiskers where it thinks it will get the most useful information, just as we do with our fingertips.”
Earth Blog Rats will save their friends from drowning
If one rat is drowning, another will step in to save it. The new finding suggests that these rodents feel empathy
Presented by Melissa Hogenboom
Saving another person from a life-or-death situation is something many of us do instinctively.
But it's not unique to humans. Many primates will also help each other out. They are our closest relatives, so it's likely that our ape-like ancestors behaved in similar ways.
In other words, our willingness to save others is an ancient trait, which modern humans have inherited.
This trait may go back a surprisingly long way. Rodents such as rats are much more distantly related to us, and our common ancestor with them must have lived millions of years ago. Yet according to a new experiment, rats will save their friends from drowning.
Rats have empathy too (Credit: Kim Taylor/NPL)
When one was soaked in water, another rat quickly learned how to operate a lever that would allow it to escape to a safe and dry area.
They did so even in the presence of a tempting chocolate treat, foregoing the lever that would release the food in favour of the one that would save the drowning rat.
The rats therefore engage in helpful "prosocial behaviour" even if there was no apparent reward. Saving a distressed rat was valuable to them.
Past experience played a role too. If the saviour rat had had a similar near-death experience, it was much quicker to help.
But when there was nobody to save, or the distressed rat was replaced with an inanimate object, the rats no longer pressed the lever.
We get by with a little help from our friends (Credit: Arco Images GmbH/Alamy)
Understanding that rats have empathy could lead the way for further studies giving insight into the neural basis of social behaviour.
"Empathy is one of the important abilities for our social life," said lead author of the study Nobuya Sato of Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan.
If rats really do have empathy, we could start to find out how it works at a neural level.
That would help us understand the evolution of social behaviour, as well as psychological conditions where individuals lack empathy.
Empathy is usually seperated into emotional empathy and cognitive empathy, says Sato. The new study specifically suggests rats feel emotional empathy: the ability to share the emotional states of other individuals.
Proper bar spacing requirements for wire cages for mice and rats For mice which can squeeze through really tight spaces the idea bar spacing on the cages should be no more than 1/4 of an inch apart for adult mice and 1/8 of an inch apart for young mice. It should be no more than 1/2 inch apart for rats. With rodents, if the head gets through, they can squeeze the body through. Please correct this on your webpage?
http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/housing.cfm "The only cage bars that might be okay (depending on the mouse) are ¼ inch square (not tall or long bars but square mesh) or smaller. Most mice can fit out of bar cages, even if the bars are ¼ inch apart. Young or small mice can easily fit out 1/8 inch spaced bars. Almost all mice can fit out of anything that their skull can fit through. Note that their skull is much smaller than their head appears! Mice have a rather flat scull and they can really shimmy it between bars. The mice that don't escape from cage bars are either very over weight or just haven't had the desire to... yet. However, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. You never know when your mouse might think that and escape! "
http://www.northstarrescue.org/pet-care-information/pet-rat-care/138-a-guide-to-pet-rat-cages A cage won't be much good if it doesn't hold your rats in! The bar spacing that you will need will depend on the size of the rats that you plan on housing. If you are planning to house baby rats, the bar spacing should be 1/2" or less, where large adult rats can be housed in cages with 1" bar spacing. Most cages will have primarily horizontal or vertical bars with spacing between, the most secure cages are cages made with rectangular or square mesh with less than 1/2" spacing in each gap. Generally, cages with 1" bar spacing will hold large adult female rats or adult male rats, but some adult female rats may still be able to escape from cages with 1" bar spacing.
Recently, there has been some buzz about whether or not domesticated rats are considered companion animals. Felony charges in an animal abuse case were declined because the felony charge addresses abuse against companion animals and someone decided that rats are not companion animals. The matter is further complicated because the rats in question were likely largely intended to be fed to a snake.
All of us in the pet rat community know that rats are clearly companion animals and find it astonishing that we should even have to defend this. We also know that there is no difference between the rats that end up fed to snakes and the rats that we love and adore, and both deserve the same protections when it comes to abuse. However, those who have not walked in our shoes can have a hard time seeing through our eyes. Below is my attempt to provide others a glimpse into our world. Domesticated rats are companion animals. They love and are loved by their owners in the same way as cats or dogs and deserve the same protections.
My youngest son watching TV with one of our first rats, Weasel
Rats are one of the most popular pocket pets. Parents magazine describes them as “some of the best pets for small children” (http://www.parents.com/parenting/pets/kids/best-small-pets-for-your-child1/). They are sold as pets by pet stores and breeders and are adopted out by rescues. Pet supply stores, veterinarians, and online communities all cater to the pet rat. Rats make better pets than most small animals because they bond closely to their people and actively seek out human interaction. Rats are considered the small pet equivalent of a dog. Like dogs, they are loyal, highly intelligent, and can be trained to do tricks (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A07gDVLe14). Rats are often chosen as emotional support animals, and their close bond with people makes them especially suited to this role.
Bela and Ruby were intended to be snake food at a reptile store when Animal Control closed the store. They were adopted out to us by EARPS.
Domesticated rats are sometimes fed to snakes; however, there are no genetic, biological, or behavioral differences between rats fed to snakes and those kept as pets. In fact, many pet rats start out life destined for a snake. Some snake owners become attached to their rats and opt to keep some as pets alongside their snakes. Any living creature can be food for something else, but that does not define them. Rats are companion animals first and foremost. Just because it is legal for certain types of companion animals to be also used as food for other animals does not make it a lesser crime to abuse those animals. The abuse of any domesticated rat, regardless of what fate has been selected for him, should be prosecuted with the same severity as the abuse of any other companion animal.
My oldest son having some soup with Jo in his collar
Our family shares our home with two dogs and seven pet rats. We pay more in veterinary bills to care for our rats than we do for our dogs, because rats are vulnerable to many health issues that often require medication and/or surgery. We frequent two qualified veterinary practices to seek care for our rats, including treatment for injuries, illness, and tumors and elective procedures such as neuters (all of our girls get spayed and our boys get neutered when needed). This is how health concerns are addressed in companion animals.
Home to our family rats
We have large cages to house our rats, filled with toys, huts, tubes, litter boxes, and home-sewn hammocks. We provide a quality rat diet and cook fresh foods for them. We take them out of their cages for at least an hour every day. They have their own rat-safe room to explore during supervised out time. My children choose to spend quality time with them every day. They help nurse them when they are ill and encourage them to eat when their appetite is poor. When their time comes, we bring them to the vet to let them go peacefully without suffering. When they pass away, we all grieve. It is hard. Our vet sends us sympathy cards because they know every loss is difficult. This is how companion animals are cared for.
Our rats at the cage door ready to greet us, like a dog at your front door when you come home from work
When we enter the rat room, our rats run to the cage doors to greet us, eager for pets and for play. They climb up our arms and lick our fingers and nibble on our ears. They tug on our pant legs when they want to be picked up. They snuggle on our lap for a nap. They ride around the house on our shoulders. They share our food. They wrestle with our fingers. Rats rarely bite. Only if they have been neglected or abused will they bite, and even then, most do not. They are friendly, trusting animals that only want companionship, good food, some play, and a comfortable place to live. This is the behavior of a companion animal.
Our family is not unique. We are just one household of many in the pet rat community. But there is nothing ordinary about the rats who have touched our lives. Each has a unique personality and a special soul. Those who have never met a domesticated rat may be prejudiced against them, confusing them with their wild counterparts. They are not vermin, dirty, or disposable. They are clean, gentle, and loving. They have been selectively bred as such for over a hundred years. They are trusting of their people. They would not imagine that their people would ever hurt them, and they go along eagerly wherever their people take them. We need to protect them when their people abuse that trust as we would protect any other companion animal. They are not defined as food. They are defined as companion.
If the description I have provided does not define companion animal, nothing does. 510 ILCS 70/2.01a (Illinois law) defines a companion animal as “an animal that is commonly considered to be, or is considered by the owner to be, a pet." There can be no doubt that domesticated rats own that definition. Countless Facebook groups and rat communities like GooseMoose (www.goosemoose.com) and the Rat Shack (www.ratshackforum.com/forum/) are a testament to this fact. Domesticated rats are companion animals and deserve the same protections as cats and dogs.
The video of rats being killed in a washing machine was shared on Facebook by a person who apparently thought it was funny. Killing defenseless creatures is never funny or amusing. And in this case, it was torture.
This writer is one of many animal lovers who have kept and loved rats as pets. Rats are extremely intelligent; they learn their names and can do tricks. They are unusually clean animals; they constantly groom themselves. They can be litter trained like cats. For the judge in this case, Judge Kuzas, to say that rats are not companion animals is wrong. Because they are small, it doesn't make them any less loved or important than dogs or cats. In fact, when similar treatment was inflicted on a cat, a much harsher sentence was sought.
The case will be heard on June 15, 2015 at Branch 43, 3150 W. Flournoy, Chicago. A petition to Anita Alvarez, Cook County State's Attorney and the judge, the Honorable Robert D. Kuzas can be signed at: Justice for the Washer Rats. Please visit the site of the petition. It is extremely well-written and explains the various charges and why the harsher charge is merited.
The organizer of the petition states:
I have rats as companion pets and they are friendly, intelligent and love attention from their owners. If you watch the posted video you will see that the rats in the washing machine looked up to the camera as a dog or cat would, with fear in their eyes, pleading for help. I am fighting for justice for these lives lost just as I would if this happened to a dog, a cat or a human."
Please e-mail here to report this horrible woman who put live pet rats in a washing machine and turned it on! >:-/ EMAIL TO REPORT: firstname.lastname@example.org She posted a video of her putting them in a washing machine, dousing the rats with a water hose and then turning the machine on and letting the poor animals spin inside. Her name is Mary Louiski and she is from Chicago. This is her Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mary.nash.54/about and here is a link to the video of her putting the rats in a washing machine!
* Update Mary Nash aka Mary Louiski on Facebook and her mother Darlissa Freeman were arrested, charged and released with a promise to appear pending attending court in Cook County, Illinois. The sad news is that upon inspection of the home by the authorities, none of the rats had survived. :-(
The Nebraska Humane Society raided an attached garage at a home in west Omaha filled with hundreds of mice and rats.
Acting on an anonymous tip, Humane Society officers and Omaha Police served a warrant at a home just south of 105th and Q Streets.
Officers have been at the home throughout the day.
You wouldn't expect to find a pet shop in this southwest Omaha neighborhood but that is what NHS claims it found.
Box after box is taken from the home
Inside are rats and mice.
"We served a search warrant here with the Omaha Police Department after complaints were received of an illegal pet store being operated out of this house," Mark Langan of the NHS said.
Officers seized hundreds of mice and rats after receiving an anonymous tip.
Langan tells WOWT 6 News they've been conducting an on-going investigation into alleged illegal pet selling activity here.
"It appears as though this has been going on quite some time, maybe several years out of this address, so we are confiscating records showing sales of animals from this house," Langan said.
Langan tells us inside a back garage were hundreds of mice and rats
But inside the rest of the home, were snakes, lizards, birds and a bunny.
Only the mice and rats were being removed because of unsafe conditions in a back garage.
"With the high ammonia levels about three and a half times what they should have been, those mice and rats were showing signs of sneezing and eye irritation our veterinarians were examining them and said they had to be removed,” Langan said.
Neighbors tell WOWT 6 News that they've seen buying and selling activity taking place here before.
That investigation will continue as the rest of the mice and rats are removed from the home.
"Could be additional charges pending, right now we are confiscating about 500 mice and rats, issuing citations for unsanitary conditions, animal cruelty and operating a pet store without a license," Langan said.
We've been in contact the homeowner. She said "we love our animals, you can ask anyone in this community, we love our animals. We've helped thousands through education in libraries and schools."
The conditions inside the home itself were deemed safe by the humane society to allow the owners to keep the rest of his animals.
Rats are kept in horrible conditions. All bitten to pieces, all mean, moms are way overbred. There are cages of animals everywhere that aren't properly taken care of. I am never going here again."
As reviews on Facebook show this shop does not house small animals properly and refuses to get them proper veterinary care if they are injured as the next few photos will show. Thankfully these few rats were rescued from the horrible shop. In my opinion scumbags like the people who run this shop should not be allowed to sell animals at all! >:-/
The following photos were taken inside Hogtown Reptile Shop Inc. 2104 SW 34th St, Gainesville, FL 32608, United States
Somehow, we have to get Eden, my daughter’s pet rat, from Brooklyn to Portland, Ore., where Olivia will start college next month. Like E. B. White’s Stuart Little, Eden has become part of our family, a kind of miniature sibling to my only child, who is about to leave home. Eden is one of a klatch of pet rats we know (picture three young women and their animals at our kitchen table, eating tacos, our two cats asleep in a corner). According to Robert Sullivan’s book “Rats,” “fancy” descendants of the homely gray Rattus norvegicus had an earlier moment as women’s companions during the Victorian era. Is Eden part of a revival zeitgeist thing, a moment soon to be documented by pop culture media?
All I know is that our plane tickets are already booked, and it never occurred to me that Olivia couldn’t carry Eden in a cat carrier on a plane. The word from the woman at airline customer service is an emphatic no. Rabbits, yes. Guinea pigs, sure. Hamsters, fine. Rats? No. Rats are lumped in with “exotic, potentially dangerous” pets, like snakes and spiders.
“Would it help if we got a letter from a vet?” I plead.
“No,” the woman says. “No rats.”
“But — ” I try again.
“No,” the woman repeats, with a sigh of exasperation. “No exceptions.”
Our choices are to cancel Olivia’s plane ticket and send her out to Portland by train, which would take up the last days she hoped to spend with friends before they all disperse to different colleges, or to find someone driving out West who would take a rodent passenger. I call an insanely pricey door-to-door pet transport service. I post an ad on Craigslist, offering to pay gas money in return for Eden’s safe transport.
“I have to meet them first,” Olivia insists.
When Olivia presented the idea of a pet rat last September, I was overcome with revulsion. The only rats I knew were the darkling monsters skittering along the subway tracks. It was my opinion that in spite of the charming film “Ratatouille” (those gray rats were comfortingly animated and lived in a gorgeously rendered Paris), their bad rap as carriers of disease since the time of the medieval plagues was well deserved. My partner, Clark, loved to tell a story about killing just such a rat years ago, as it scampered through his Brooklyn kitchen in the middle of the night. To dispatch the creature, he and his roommate had to whack it repeatedly with a broom, an epic battle worthy of a horror movie.
“No, Mom,” Olivia said, frustrated by my resistance. “It wouldn’t be like that! This would be a lab rat. You’ll see. They’re so sweet. And really smart.”
After several months of Olivia’s patient lobbying, and our having emerged from her college application process with faculties intact, I relented. Olivia brought home her new rat the very next day. She was small and white, with a pink, hairless tail and ruby eyes, a rescue from the snake food cage at PetSmart. At first I could observe Eden only from a safe distance across the table as Olivia fed her tidbits from her own plate. The sight of Eden’s ropy tail curled around Olivia’s neck or wrist made me go all tingly, but after a time I had to admit that watching her hold a noodle in her oddly human paws, gobble it up and wash her face afterward was pretty adorable.
EDEN’S true role became apparent quickly. High school had not been the happiest place. Let’s just say that Olivia, no extrovert, didn’t fit into the Girlworld cliques that thrived well into senior year. Eden’s unconditional love proved to be a soothing balm at home after a long day (there was just one infamous day when Olivia sneaked Eden into school, with consequences). Olivia seemed to relish having a companion who was a misunderstood outsider, like herself, and our acceptance of Eden raised our parental coolness factor by some measurable ticks.
“Eden is my wingman,” Olivia said to us one evening as she headed out to a weekend party. And so she was, perched on Olivia’s shoulder or tucked in a sleeve, like a secret talisman. Perhaps Victorian women carried their rat companions in their voluminous blouses or under their hats to fend off their worries, as they struggled for breath in constraining corsets and bustles.
Even though she chewed holes in a few bath towels, and littered the table with nibbled bits of the morning’s scrambled egg, I couldn’t deny the beautiful way Eden softened the hard edges of school social craziness and academic pressure. When I was a teenager I smoked cigarettes, got stoned and drank more than I could tolerate to alleviate my own social anxiety. My daughter now had a rat to calm hers. I only wish Eden had come into our family a few years earlier.
Olivia remarked recently, “When I care for Eden, it’s like taking care of myself.” Enough said on the value of a portable pet whose simple but essential needs keep Olivia mindful of her own best interests.
Eden has also proved to be a world-class icebreaker. When Olivia and I have traveled on the subway together — Eden peeking out of a sweater sleeve — I’ve marveled as fellow passengers first notice her wriggling ears and twitching whiskers in their peripheral vision and then cross the aisle for a closer look, their curiosity penetrating Olivia’s natural reserve. Eden is also curious, sniffing visitors, but never strays from Olivia’s arm, the most loyal animal friend. Eden has changed Olivia. That’s a big accomplishment for a small animal whose destiny was marked out as a meal for a pet python.
As the last weeks of summer wind down, I must prioritize the tasks that threaten to overwhelm me while I grapple with imminent separation. Books, clothes, artwork and rain boots to ship out to school, last-minute college forms to fill out, tuition to pay. Getting Eden to Portland is important. My daughter will want her wingman with her as she begins her next chapter and I want to make that happen. Somehow.
At last, we find out that at least one airline will ship pets as “cargo.” Antonio, the soft-spoken customer service agent at United Airlines, arranges Eden’s transport, reassuring me that all will go well. He insists on calling her a “mouse,” but I don’t mind. I know that “rat” is not a beautiful word for most people. But as he coordinates Eden’s flights — she must change planes in Chicago — with our own arrival in Portland, I can tell he gets it.
“Animals, they are such good comfort,” he says, pausing a moment, before giving me final instructions on how we can safely prepare Eden for her cross-country journey.
How I will miss my Olivia. We had some rough years during her adolescence, but we are solid again. It feels right for us to separate now, when we can be held together by our love. I never thought I would feel this way, but I know that I will miss Eden, too.
Julie Metz is a graphic designer and the author of the memoir “Perfection.”
A version of this article appears in print on 08/24/2014, on page SR8 of the NewYork edition with the headline: My Daughter, Her Rat.
These idiots thought it was alright to freeze the baby rats their pet rats had an offer them up for sale on Kajiji. D:
This jerk named Kyle from Chicago condems a poor rat to death by listing it as a feeder rat just because he tried to overfeed his snake and it wasn't hungry when he tried to feed it this time. Wont people learn to feed frozen instead? *facepalm*
Another feeder/breeder business for the wall of shame :-S What kind of sick bitch breeds baby animals saying that they will go as pets but any that are not found homes by six weeks will go as live food! D: People like this owner of Hello Pookie Rattery are nothing but gutter trash and should never be allowed to own pets of any kind!!!
Ecstacy Evans an animal abuser from Kentwood LA This is Ecstacy Evans, she is a child that lives in Kentwood, LA. She had a video up of her rats fighting in a 10 gallon fish tank. She also let her gerbil attack her rats. You can see the blood in the one picture. She got rhw rats from a friend named Kristy Hollie who by pictures looks like she loved them. A shame they are being abused now >:-/
Horrible people like this girl should never be allowed to own pets because they have no idea how to care for them and they are cruel jerks who need to be punished by rotting in jail!
Two more cruel scumbags for the wall of shame >. First we have a jerk named Jay who thinks it's cool to breed and sell live animals as food or pets from his home. It is people like this bastard that we need stronger laws to protect the lives of pets and to make sure that not just anybody can make a business of selling live animals from their home on classifieds! Pet shops and breeders should be strictly licensed and selling live animals as food should be illegal!
Next is a horrible feeder/breeder business in Chicago that sells small animals as food on Craigslilst out of their home. This awful practice should be outlawed! >:-/
Rabbits, mice, rats and guinea pigs rescued from labs or cases of mistreatment by Italian charity La Collina dei Conigli ONLUS have become magical models for a photo-shoot inspired by the famous novel “Alice in Wonderland.”
This was the special idea of volunteer Attilia Conti to celebrate the first 10 years of the charity’s operation. Why Alice? Because both the novel and this charity “started with a White Rabbit.”
I took these pictures at the rescue center in Monza, near Milan, during the first weekend of September with help from volunteers Attilia, Eleonora and Fulvio. I’m not a professional photographer, but photography is my greatest passion and I’m always available to volunteer for animal shelters with my camera!
Mice were the most cooperative models, while guinea pigs were the laziest (they stayed still only with food present). Rats were the most attractive, and rabbits… were the most disapproving. Some of the pictures were used in the charity’s 2015 calendar, which helps raise funds for hundreds and hundreds of rescued animal.
Many of them are still looking for their new homes, so if you live in Italy, you can adopt one.
" Factory, a rodent-breeding barn, and Jurassic Pets LLC, a pet store. Witnesses routinely found animals suffering in horrific conditions.
Based on PETA’s evidence, the Thornton, Colorado, Police Department executed a search warrant at Jurassic Pets on December 10, 2014, that allowed them to rescue some of the mammals, reptiles, and amphibians there.
Despite having extensive evidence of persistent, widespread cruelty to animals since October 2, 2014, the Adams County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) still has not seized or rendered aid to the thousands of animals kept at Willards Rodent Factory.
See the eyewitness video from PETA’s investigation:
*This poor rat was rescued, taken to a vet where it was humanely put down to end her suffering. :-(
A photo found of Lynn Kubic
A photo found of Lynn, Lee & Kenneth Kubic.
Willards Rodent Factory: The Kubics' Barn of Horrors The Kubics breed rats and mice in a barn located on their Adams County property—just a few feet away from their family residence. Thousands of rodents—crowded shoulder to shoulder in filthy tubs on top of bedding saturated with weeks’ worth of waste—were kept in bins and metal troughs inside the barn during the course of PETA’s investigation. The Kubics did not employ a single full-time person to care for the animals. Lynn Kubic claimed that “you just don’t make enough money at this to … have a ton of employees or spend a ton of time out here.” Hundreds of rodents were found dying, dead, and decomposing.
Tubs housing rodents frequently flooded, drowning rats and mice by the hundreds. Lynn Kubic—who admitted that she would not enter the barn after a flood because of the stench—lamented the loss of money but never the suffering of the drowned animals.
Cats were permitted to roam freely in and out of the “rodent factory,” terrifying rats and mice by opening tubs in which rodents were housed, defecating above them, and even tearing them apart. Rats and mice starved to death. Lynn Kubic admitted, “I probably lose more animals to starvation … than floods.” The Kubics fed rats and mice once per month, allowing the food to become moldy and covered with feces as the weeks passed.
The Kubics denied ill and injured rats veterinary care and instead “whacked” them—swung them by the tail and slammed them into a hard surface to try to kill them. The Kubics admitted to freezing live rats and mice to death.
Witnesses found a critically injured rat, “Miss Rat,” whose upper jaw, nose, and muzzle were missing. The Kubics’ son—the only authority present at the facility that day—instructed that Miss Rat be thrown to the free-roaming cats, adding, “It’s not like I care … [I]t’s one rat out of, like, 10,000 ….” The rat was taken to a veterinarian, who found that she was suffering from “traumatic injuries” and put her out of her misery.
Kenneth Kubic admitted that he shoots cats, while Lynn Kubic took kittens born to the cats and sold them in the couple’s pet store. At least two kittens languished without any effective veterinary care for obviously severe upper respiratory infections—and died.
Despite initial assurances that it would take swift action to rescue these long-neglected animals, the ACSO has allowed months to pass while animals languish, suffer, drown, and die, deprived of the protections afforded by Colorado’s anti-cruelty statutes, which they depend on the ACSO to uphold and enforce.
Jurassic Pets: Little Shop of Horrors The Kubics sold many of the rats, mice, and kittens from the barn as well as reptiles and mammals bred and/or kept in their basement through their grimy pet shop in Thornton, called Jurassic Pets, where animals were crammed on top of one another inside cramped enclosures, in which feces, rotting meat, and dead animals collected for days.
As at the barn, workers also “whacked” rats and mice and admitted to wrapping them in plastic bags in an attempt to suffocate those who survived the blows. One little rat languished for almost 10 minutes—gasping for breath and trembling—after being “whacked.” A worker then tried to break the rat’s neck.
Scores of ill or injured animals languished without adequate veterinary care, despite managers’ and Lynn Kubic’s awareness of their poor conditions. As one worker put it, “A trip to the vet is gonna be a hundred and something, so is it really worth our money to do that? … [W]e are a business. … If we were to take every animal to the vet that truly needs to be, there’d be no reason to sell ‘em ….”
Witnesses found a hedgehog, since named Ghost, whose right eye was shrunken. Lynn Kubic denied Ghost adequate veterinary care for months, until her eye was so “infected” that it was “los[t].” Ghost was rescued, and a veterinary ophthalmologist found that she had been neglected so severely that her eye had degenerated and lost all vision.
The witnesses documented evidence of thousands of deaths including reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and fish, the latter of which occurred in multiple massive die-offs in the store, and some had been ignored for so long that their bodies were rotting. The facility’s manager would state that it was “too late” for many ailing reptiles and throw them into the freezer while still alive, where they suffered and died slowly and in agony.
Animals were routinely denied water. Many animals rushed to drink or soak themselves when water was provided for up to an hour.
[Lynn Kubic denied Ghost adequate veterinary care for her infected eye for so long that, as Kubic put it, her eye was ''los[t].'' Ghost was rescued and treated and has since found a good home. ] [Animals at Jurassic Pets, including this thin bearded dragon whose mouth was encrusted with discharge, were denied adequate care. ] [Scores of animals, including this Chinese water dragon, who was found floating in stagnant water, died from unknown causes at Jurassic Pets. ] [These rat pinkies were two of many found dead in the facility. Facility owner Lynn Kubic admitted to freezing rodents alive—causing a slow and painful death. ] [At Jurassic Pets, ailing reptiles were thrown into the freezer while still alive and left to freeze to death. ] [Animals were routinely denied water or had only filthy water contaminated with feces to drink; when water was provided, some drank for several minutes. ]"
THORNTON – Following a police search at a pet store Wednesday morning, PETA has released details on the allegations of animal cruelty.
According to a spokesperson for Thornton Police, the warrant was executed at Jurassic Pets at 10380 Washington Street. PETA says during an eyewitness investigation, store staff tried to kill pet rats and mice by hitting them against surfaces. They are also accused of freezing rodents and reptiles alive.
"Rats and mice drowned in flooded tubs routinely and were found dead and rotting in bins saturated with waste," the statement from PETA read. "The Adams County Sheriff's Office has sat on evidence of widespread cruelty for months, and PETAis calling on officials to do their job and seize the animals still in danger at Willards Rodent Factory without further delay."
PETA says veterinary care and euthanasia were denied to many animals including a hedgehog who went without adequate veterinary care for months for an eye infected so badly that it shriveled and lost all vision. They say some of these animals were thrown outdoors to be prey for the cats kept around the barn, cats whose kittens were rounded up and sold.
According to PETA, the store is run by Lynn and Kenneth Kubic, who have been breeding animals since 1985.
To people who say oh but PETA did the story, well whoever did the story, you cannot deny the fact that this pet trading business willfully was cruel to animals! We undoubtedly need to enact very strong anti-cruelty laws and punishments to help stop animal cruelty and regulate how the pet trade industry does business! Animals suffered and would have gone on suffering, but at least someone had the guts to go in and get the undercover footage, be it PETA, the ASPCA or the Police. - Moxxey
Pet rats found left outside in the cold in Toronto, Ontario. Only 1 survived :-( This is what happens when politicians cut the funding to animal shelters! It is also what happens when there are too many unwanted animals due to greedy pet shops and people breeding and selling them on classified ads such as Craigslist and Kajiji. Fortunately someone found the two domesticated rats abandoned outside, but only one of the two survived.
I've successfully avoided writing anything on the topic of choking for 10 years because I figured everything was covered already anyway and I'd dealt with choking so few times that I really shouldn't even bother opening my yap.
But...It recently occurred to me that, much like dealing with advanced upper respiratory illnesses, what we may be doing (although with good intention) may not be in the rat's best interest.
So what this choking schpiel is about is intervention, or rather, lack of.
We humans think that consoling our furry friends during time of crisis is helpful. After all, if we're sick we generally enjoy the doting and attention. But rats aren't us. And I'm not trying to debate whether or not they have feelings and I certainly have no physiological evidence to prove whether or not they appreciate the attention, but I can tell you that when you try to be helpful by holding your rat when he's gasping (because he's having trouble breathing due to illness or blockage), you're actually just adding stress to his overall picture...or distraction.
In the case of severe respiratory illness, if your rat is gasping, constraint makes him (or her) even more tense adding to the stress of the situation. When you're having trouble breathing, the goal is to relax (it makes breathing easier). When rats are panicked, stroking them, consoling them, hugging them...that stuff makes him (or her) panic more (particularly the hugging - it makes them warm and it makes them feel trapped). When your rat is panicking, he (or she) is beyond reason and as such he (or she) is not comprehending of (or even tolerant of) your kind attempts.
If your rat has a respiratory illness, make your hands into a rat plate and be prepared for a dive (but don't cup him/her). Head over to your freezer and hold him in front of the open door. If the panicked breathing lessens, he's likely got a lot of fluid in his lungs so your next steps are to:
1. Place him in a cage in a cool room/area and give him a piece of dark chocolate. 2. Call your vet. 3. Come home with 3+ weeks worth of antibiotics and, if your vet agrees with your assessment (wet lungs), a steroid or diuretic to help do something about that fluid.
The freezer test may fail. If the gasping seems to get worse, head immediately to your bathroom, close the door, and turn on the hot water and shower. If the cold didn't help, the moisture should. If the moisture helps, his lungs are too dry so your next steps are to:
1. Set up a cage in the bathroom and run the hot water/shower for 20 minute sessions every 2-3 hours (or set up a humidifier by his cage)...and give him dark chocolate. 2. Call your vet. 3. Come home with 3+ weeks worth of antibiotics and, if your vet agrees with your assessment (dry lungs), a bronchiodilator (e.g. aminophylline) to help relax his breathing.
6. And if all that fails, skidattle to a vet, have them iso your rat and scope! This is truly a last resort: If they can get it out, it's probably going to end up tearing tissue and that gets infected, etc, etc (not good). You are truly better off letting the rat slowly break it up (the contorting) and coat it (the phlegm) to get it out...even as painful as it is to watch!
TIP: A choking episode usually lasts 20-30 minutes IF YOU DON'T INTERVENE! Really, rats choke a lot more than you see them choke! So if your rat is choking and he's not slumped on the ground barely moving, assume that your 20-30 minute clock starts at that moment in time and use that 20 minutes to get a bowl of water, a handful of swabs, and a print-out of the choking schpiel linked above (and READ IT!). They may go an hour or two. Once you get close to that two-hour mark, the rat's going to start to get tired and you will need to lift his chin every few moments to get him back on track (and to check for blue).
What's happening: Understanding what's happening makes it a bit easier to avoid panic yourself. They coat the obstruction with saliva and then they try to "cough" it up (all that weird body motion is them trying to move that thing around by flexing muscles in their throat - it's not truly a "cough" as we know it). Sometimes you'll see them jerking their neck or body around in weird manners - they're breaking up the obstruction, shifting the obstruction, moving the obstruction (up or down, they don't care). And that can be a slow process.
If you pet them or hold them or pick them up, you're distracting them and they stop "coughing." They are then using their energy to remain calm to show that they're OK. Choking uses a lot of energy so you want them to apply all they've got to eliminating the obstruction.
But, again, if he turns blue, that's a direct invitation for your help so be ready to quickly inspect and fling! You may also be able to see the obstruction by peering into his mouth. If you feel like you can swipe from right to left (or left to right) without shoving it back down his throat, you can take a dampened cotton swab and wipe from right-back to left-front (or left-back to right-front) to help pull it out. But he's better off doing it gradually himself (less chance for tissue damage, resulting infection, etc)....just don't let him get spooked (if he has crazy roommates, let him hang out on your couch or floor by himself for a bit or something). And yes, it looks ugly with the drool, the scooting, the weird body arching, the gasping....but if he's not turning blue, leave him be (just trust me on this)."
A bad pet store that sells live animals as food on Kajiji Someone came across this ad on Kajiji and pointed it out to me about a Pet Shop named Noah's Ark in Marmora, Ontario that sells live food animals. This of course is a cruel practice and totally unnecessary as feeding frozen rodents is much more humane and safer for your snake, in that it wont get bitten or scratched during the struggle.
Here is a copy of one of their Kajiji ads, along with a photo of their store sign and the owners themselves, one named Megan DeSouza. Shame on this pet shop :-S
Next there's this scumbag named Dan from Kitchener. Ontario who is breeding and selling rodents out of his house. The jerk is also keeping them in crowded and tiny breeding tubs, which are not humane at all! >:-/
White Rodent Finds Fame on the Great White Way 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' Has Unexpected Star: Rat Named Toby
A water glass is kept for Toby in the dressing room, which is adorned with fresh roses. (She likes to nibble on those.)
Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times
By COREY KILGANNONNOV. 10, 2014
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Backstage on the set of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” which opened on Broadway in October. Toby, the rat kept by the teenager with autism at the center of the show, has won… over audiences and the cast. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times 1 of 8 Continue reading the main story Share This Page
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Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
The Broadway cast was less than thrilled when it found out who one of their fellow performers would be. It made them squeamish — not because of who it was but because of what it was.
They would be sharing the stage, it turned out, with a live rat.
“The idea of a rat was not exactly familiar to me,” said Alex Sharp, an actor who plays the leading role. “It was just a thing you see in the subway that has diseases.”
But Toby, the name of the rat kept by the teenager with autism at the center of the show, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” has managed to win over the affection of audiences and the cast — so much so that the rodent role has been expanded.
“She’s a special rat,” said Benjamin Klein, the associate director of the play, which opened in October to critical acclaim. Continue reading the main story Related Coverage
Theater Review: 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' Opens on BroadwayOCT. 5, 2014 A New York rat in one of its natural habitats, the Times Square subway station. 8 Million Rats for 8 Million New Yorkers? Data Suggest a City Legend Is FlawedNOV. 5, 2014
Indeed, Toby is not your subway-scampering, stomach-turning gray varmint. She — Toby is a female, but plays a male in the play — is a 9-month-old, affable albino who has the cast and crew of the play thoroughly wrapped around her long, tapered tail. Photo Toby appears on stage with Alex Sharp, who plays the leading role in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times
“I’m just a rat servant now — I’m the rat butler,” said Lydia DesRoche, Toby’s trainer, who says she has become sort of a social secretary, chaperoning Toby as she interacts with the smitten cast and crew backstage at the Ethel Barrymore Theater. “People come to visit me after the show just to meet Toby.”
Toby is even more popular than Dr. Watson, a cuddly golden retriever puppy who also appears in the play.
“She just makes being backstage a completely different experience,” said Francesca Faridany, who plays a special-education teacher to Christopher Boone, the British teenager who is the main protagonist.
Ms. DesRoche, who runs a service called Sit Stay dog training, has prepared animals for the stage — in fact, she trained two dogs for the current Broadway production of “Of Mice and Men.” But she had never worked with a rat until the producers of “Curious Incident” called to offer her the opportunity of furnishing and training a rat for Broadway.
“I was terrified of them; I run screaming when a rat crosses my path,” she said. “But I wanted the job, and if that involved touching a rat, I’m going to do it.”
Ms. DesRoche adopted Toby in September from Social Tees Animal Rescue in the East Village.
“They told me she was going to be” — and here, she put her hands over Toby’s little ears and whispered — “snake food.”
Toby was initially afraid of people and would not venture out of her cage, said Ms. DesRoche, who began by getting Toby more comfortable to being handled in small doses.
Then, in rehearsals, she held Toby offstage to acclimate Toby to the flashing lights and loud noises.
She said she trained Toby “the same way I would train a dog.”
“Instead of being motivated by treats, she likes to explore and meet new people,” she said. “So if I wanted her to do something, that would be the reward. I’d praise her and let her go meet somebody.” Continue reading the main story
While Ms. DesRoche takes Toby home on the weekends to her apartment on the Upper West Side, the rat goes home on weeknights with members of the cast and crew. There is no shortage of takers; members with children usually get first choice.
As she sat in the greenroom behind the stage before a recent Wednesday matinee, Ms. Faridany fed Toby string beans from her lunch and described how thrilled her 4-year-old daughter was when she got to bring Toby home for a couple of nights.
Sitting nearby was Mr. Sharp, who, after initially being daunted by Toby’s presence, now says, “She’s a clean lovely rat, like a little puppy.”
“At first, she just stayed in the cage, and that was the relationship we had,” he added. “Then they convinced me to take her home. Toby is one of Christopher’s best friends, so it’s very important” to be on friendly terms.
Mr. Klein said, “When we first told the cast we were having a real rat, people were not very excited we would have a live rat around.” But now, he added, “this is our star.”
Befitting Toby’s status, the rat has her own dressing room alongside the other actors’ dressing rooms. She shares it with Dr. Watson, and a sign on the door reads, “Puppy and Rat Room.”
Inside, yes, there are light bulbs around the mirrors and fresh roses on the makeup counter (Toby likes to nibble on roses). Also, on the counter is a long tube, for scampering through, and a glass of water, which she climbs up onto, and nearly hops into, as she drinks.
The cage in the room is a formality, since Toby has free range. To satisfy the rat’s insatiable appetite for playing with people, Ms. DesRoche allows her to stay in the greenroom where the cast passes through. Ms. DesRoche has also made a preshow ritual of escorting Toby throughout the backstage area, for short play-dates with those she encounters.
Since rats like small spaces, Ms. DesRoche said, Toby had little problem going into the small carrying case that Christopher carries onstage. Plus, Ms. DesRoche said, Toby does not run away “because rats don’t leave when they have it good.”
Toby displayed such skills and appeal that the decision was made to amplify her stage presence. During rehearsals and previews, Toby, who appears for much of the second half of the play, was kept inside her cage.
“But seeing how good our Toby was, we said, ‘Let’s see what we can do,’ ” said Mr. Klein, the associate director.
Now, Toby hops out to nuzzle, and sometimes scamper over Mr. Sharp. Ms. DesRoche has also taught Toby to run up Mr. Sharp’s arm, across his shoulders and down the other arm.
Toby is also popular with audiences. She elicits hearty laughter when she appears onstage, and Ms. DesRoche said that when she walked out the stage door with Toby on her shoulder, fans swarmed and snapped photographs.
There are a few holdouts in the cast who have not joined the Toby fan club. “But,” Ms. DesRoche said, “at least they don’t jump and scream anymore when they see her.”
Before a recent performance, Ian Barford, who plays Christopher’s father, passed a crowd of fellow cast members gathered around Toby, and mouthed the words, “I do not like that rat,” as if not to let Toby or her fans hear.
It was getting close to show time and in the dressing room, Ms. DesRoche held up the cage. “Toby, five minutes,” she said, and the rat scampered into her cage. Correction: November 10, 2014 An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the dog who appears in the play. He is Dr. Watson, not Logan. The error also appeared in two picture captions in the accompanying slide show.
Antioch: Family, pet rat OK after fire destroys home
By Rick Hurd
email@example.com Posted: 11/09/2014 07:01:45 AM PST1 Comment | Updated: a day ago
ANTIOCH -- A family of five lost their home in a fire early Sunday morning, but a rescue made by Contra Costa Fire Protection District crews did provide a bit of solace.
A young boy got to keep his small rat.
"He was ecstatic about that," Fire Marshal Robert Marshall said.
The two-alarm fire at the single-story home in the 5400 block of Buffalo Avenue destroyed just about everything else. Crews responded around 1:50 a.m. and needed nearly two hours to get the blaze under control. A second alarm sounded when the roof of the home began to collapse and forced firefighters attacking the fire from inside to move back outside, Marshall said. The roof eventually collapsed completely, but nobody was injured, he said.
A smoke alarm awoke the family to the fire, and they also escaped without injury, Marshall said.
"Very fortunate that they had the smoke alarm," he said.
Investigators believe the charcoal left over from a barbecue pit on the front porch ignited and spread quickly to an oversized attic in the three-bedroom house. From there, the fire spread quickly, Marshall said.
Fire crews found the rat crawling amid the rubble.
"The family thought there was no way the boy's pet would make it out, and really given everything that happened, that was a reasonable thought," Marshall said. "But somehow, it got through it."
Four adults lived at the home with the boy, whom Marshall estimated to be 2 or 3 years old. Advertisement
Where the family and its pet rat go from here will be determined. Marshall said neighbors took them in last night, and that the family anticipates its insurance will cover the damages and aid in their housing needs.
The house they were living in suffered approximately $600,000 in damages, he said.
Next is some unknown jerk from Ottawa who posted this cruel ad! I'd like to find out who the SOB is to warn people about them. All that is known is that they are a coward, not answering their Kajiji ad when people inquired about the poor rats.
Another uncaring jerk of a person who doesn't give a damn about small animals >:-/ This Effin' jerk named Terry Hughes Terry Hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org) from St. John, New Brunswick puts up an ad on Kajiji to offer his two rats for food only because they were retired from breeding and sick with tumors. Well apparently he's retired, so I hope that when the SOB gets sick that the health care system leaves him high and dry to suffer too! >:-/
Scumbag ad poster from New Brunswick doesn't even give his pets 3 days to find a new home on Kajiji Perhaps here we have one of the worst scumbags of all? This ad poster from Moncton, New Brunswick named Wayne Boutilier who posts an ad saying he needs to re-home his pet rats because his kids have zero interest in them, but says they need to go ASAP, can be pets or feeders. D: Well as you can see from the two ads, that the bastid didn't even give his pets three days before dumping them off at some pet shop to be sold as pets or food. What a sick jerk! >:-/
Here are the responses to some people who were interested in trying to help re-home the pet rats. D:
On Thursday, September 11, 2014 10:04 PM, wayne boutilier <email@example.com> wrote:
OK this is getting extremely weird..the two rats are at pet culture on moutian road. Just go in ask for the two rats that was given to them the other day. The manager knows me so you will have no issues . there both females one is white with a Lil brown on her nose and the other is a barker tan color. Tan is Ying. White is Yang. So don't bother me any more bout those two rats...they are 8 months old. And if you go to pet store claiming them to yours that will not fly with me as they was my rats from birth I raised them from day one . Have a nice day and best of luck.
On Thursday, September 11, 2014 5:03 PM, wayne boutilier <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
There gone so you will have to find other ones. Tons need homes rite
On Thursday, September 11, 2014 4:53 PM, wayne boutilier <email@example.com> wrote:
The horrors of Kajiji when it comes to small animals D: Who the heck takes baby rodents from the mom before they're weaned? D: What kind of twisted person says that they have 7 pinkies for sale that they need gone ASAP? >:-/ Here is another example of a person from St. Catharines, Ontario that thinks they can just breed their rats over and over to get fancy babies, but when they have too many they put them up for sale, or as in their other ads you see them being given away for free. The only consolation is that they are insisting that they go as pets, but without a re-homing fee, anyone can say that they want them as a pet. :-(
The horrors of Craigslist when it comes to small animals D: This is the sad kind of thing that happens to poor small animals when you get backyard breeders trying to make a business of breeding and selling small animals on places like Craigslist. They find out that the number of animals soon becomes out of control and the demand for people wanting them is not that great and they end up posting ads like this to try and get rid of their animals and get out of the business. Usually things don't go well for the poor rodents, but thankfully this time a rescue stepped up to help take in the remaining rats.
Shame on the greedy ad poster from Williamsport, Pennsylvania! This is why breeding animals of any kind out of your home should be illegal! Just look at the horrible overcrowded living conditions the poor rats are being kept in. D:
Journalist, Producer/Editor & Web Writer. Carter's work has appeared on CBS and CNN.com.
Walk into virtually any pet store and there, on the shelf, pet owners will find running wheels and clear running balls for small animals like hamsters, gerbils, mice and rats. Peek in the pet store cage and there's a good chance the pet store mice or hamsters are running - often two or three at a time - on cage wheels.
But small animal running wheels and running balls for small pets should be avoided at all costs. Hamster wheels and hamster balls, as they're frequently referred to, are very dangerous, resulting in pet injuries so severe that often, euthanasia is the only option.
"Simply stated, exercise wheels and 'hamster balls,' as they're commonly called, are deadly. They can and will cause severe injuries that leave a pet owner with two choices: amputation or euthanasia," explained Dr. Michael Levine, DVM.
Why Are Small Animal Exercise Wheels Dangerous?
Exercise wheels pose many different dangers. Some exercise wheels for hamsters, mice, gerbils, rats and other small animals are constructed of coated metal and the running surface is a metal mesh or metal bars. While running, a hamster's foot, leg, nail or toe can become caught in the wheel, and the momentum creates sufficient force to fracture or even amputate the limb. Gerbils, mice and rats often suffer tail injuries as well, when their tail becomes trapped in the revolving wheel.
When multiple mice, hamsters or gerbils run on an exercise wheel - a frequent occurrence - this poses even more risk for injury, since the uninjured animal will keep running even if the other animal is caught in the wheel.
Some owners of small pets are led to believe that a running wheel with a solid plastic running surface is safer. This is not the case, especially since most solid plastic running wheels mount onto the side of the hamster or mouse cage.
"I've seen many cases where a gerbil or mouse tail or limb gets caught where the wheel mounts onto the cage. I've also seen fatal crush injuries with these solid plastic running wheels. The animal can become trapped and crushed between the wheel and the cage with models that mount directly onto the cage.
"Small pocket pets like mice, gerbils and hamsters will also try to climb on the slick outer surface of the wheel, and if another cagemate starts running on the exercise wheel, the animal that's climbing on the outside of the running wheel can become wedged between the spinning wheel and the side of the cage. It's a terrible, painful, frightening — and often, slow — way for your pet to die," Dr. Levine explained.
The Consequences of Running Wheel Injuries in Hamsters, Gerbils and Other Small Pets
Serious and life-threatening injuries due to exercise wheels are very common – more common than most pet owners realize. And unfortunately, a serious injury in a pocket pet usually leads to euthanasia since pet owners are not willing to pay for the specialized surgery that is required to heal a broken leg in a mouse, hamster, gerbil, rat or other small pet.
"If you allow your pocket pet to run on an exercise wheel, there's about a 7 in 10 chance that he will sustain a serious injury at some point in his life. When that happens, you will be faced with the following decision: let your pet suffer and die a painful death from shock and dehydration (dehydration since ill and injured pets often refuse to eat and drink); euthanize the pet; or take your small pet to an exotics specialist who can perform an amputation – the most common course of treatment for a rat, hamster, mouse or gerbil with a broken leg - for a price of about $1,500. There's about a 70 percent chance that you will someday have to pick between these options if you allow your pet to use an exercise wheel," Dr. Levine explained.
Alternative Exercise for a Hamster, Gerbil, Rat or Mouse
The best form of exercise for a small pocket pet is free-range exploration. Pet owners can set up a pet-safe room and allow the pet to explore this safe room for an hour or two each day. Pet owners can offer up cardboard mazes, fun toys like toilet paper rolls and PVC pipes, and other fun pocket pet activities.
Notably, pet owners should also avoid small animal running balls, also known as "hamster balls," which pose similar risks as an exercise wheel."
Another shameful pet owner in Oshawa, Ontario A bunch of people from some small animal rescue groups tried to respond to some worrying ads by an ad poster on Kajiji. One of the ads said Two Large Male Rats free need gone by 3:30 pm August 1st. Now that worries me because who knows if they are going to dump the rats outside or what? They said that they tried to feed the rats to their snake but the snake didn't want them so they offered them for free. Then there was another ad by the same poster saying 2 friendly rats and that they again tried to feed them to their snake but it didn't eat them and now she didn't have the heart to feed them again and offered them both for $10. Well the problem is that several members at the rescue groups have tried to contact this ad poster over the last few days by texting, e-mail and phone with no response. We are worried about the status of the rats. What worries me more is when I did a search of the person's info I found their Facebook and photo accounts. They had numerous pets of all kinds and even posted photos thinking it was funny when one of their snakes was eating past rats by putting comments such as "Yummy" or "NomNom" D: What a sick, twisted bitch!!
I really hate animal hoarders like this! They take in too many animals as pets and when they can no longer care for them or tire of them, they put them up for sale in ads on Kajiji or Craigslist! >:-/
Here are copies of her Kajiji ads when she grew tired of taking care of her pets :-(
Here she thought it was funny to post photos of her snake eating some poor rats. The bitch obviously hasn't ever thought that it's more humane to train your snake to eat pre-killed rodents. Not to mention that it is also safer from the snake, because a cornered rodent can bite, scratch or even sometimes kill a snake if it gets lucky. >:-/
Here are the pics of the poor rats from her Kajiji ads. Nobody knows if they found a good home, were taken by another snake owner or what?
Shameful pet breeder in Oshawa, Ontario There is an ad poster that posted an ad for a mother rat with five babies, that some people at the at a rescue group responded to. They were told to come by on Thursday and pick them up. Soon after that they got another e-mail stating that all the babies had died. :-( The ad poster went on to say that they were breeding rats, over 150 of them recently and that they had the mother still and one other male if we wanted. They also said that the rats were kept in an outdoor cage and one female escaped. D: Poor thing. So after making plans to get them, a friend of mine was told to come on Wednesday, but when she drove up to the guy's house with her boyfriend, the ad poster didn't answer the door or was not home at the time he promised to be home for the pick up. The fear is that either something happened to these rats or they escaped.
Here are some copies of e-mails between the ad poster an my friend.
To _ _ _ _ _ Aug 5 at 1:17 AM
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: danny perro Date: Sat, Aug 2, 2014 at 9:38 PM Subject: To: _ _ _ _ _ _
They are still available I'm at 231 Burk st if you can pick them up just let me know when
Sent from my iPhone
Reply, Reply All or Forward | More
To _ _ _ _ _ Aug 5 at 1:18 AM
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: danny perro Date: Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM Subject: To: _ _ _ _ _
I just checked the cage and the mother abandoned the babies and they didn't survive if you wanted the babies but I also have a male rat to breed if you wanted one of them coz my other female rat escaped her outdoor cage and I don't need him anymore
Sent from my iPhone
Reply, Reply All or Forward | More
To _ _ _ _ _ Aug 5 at 4:26 AM
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: danny perro Date: Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 4:20 AM Subject: To: _ _ _ _ _
I only have one female the other one escaped its cage and is free now outside
Sent from my iPhone
Reply, Reply All or Forward | More
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: danny perro Date: Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 6:40 AM Subject: To: _ _ _ _ _
She will be pregnant in a month or maybe a week later you will have baby rats I was breeding but never was able to keep the rats teeth from growing when they are young and all of them died eventually I've had about 150 baby rats in the past 7 months with the two female rats that I had
Sent from my iPhone"
Such scumbags like this guy should never be allowed to own animals of any kind! >:-/
Here are a couple of their original Kajiji ads
and here is the changed ad after they said that all the babies had died :-(
It's just terrible that such a scumbag as this Danny Perro guy can be allowed to own or breed small animals! >:-/
Shameful rodent breeder in New Brunswick Just look at the terrible conditions these poor rats are being housed in by this person on Kajiji from St.-Marie-de-Kent, New Brunswick. When contacted by text, e-mail or phone 506-232-6464 by people wanting to buy the rats this ad poster did a no show. :-(
Here uou can see overcrowded containers with many rats living together in dirty conditions. What kind of terrible person does this? I say a scumbag, that's who!