I'm not for one minute suggesting Reidski does no work but he does seem to seek out the most incredible news stories to send me. Really I should let him put this on his blog as it came from him but it is hard for him to blog so I am nicking it to share with you what with it being such a delightful story and all.
It is very difficult to pick out which is the most bizarre aspect of the following news story...what do you think?
Outcry that 1,000 rats were euthanized
Man had hoarded squealing rodents inside dingy home
Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, June 29, 2006
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Rat lovers were furious Wednesday that a Petaluma animal shelter had euthanized about 1,000 of the rodents taken last week from a man who had been hoarding the creatures inside his home.
Roger Dier, 67, was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty last week after animal control officers found hordes of squealing rats inside his dingy one-bedroom house in Petaluma. Nancee Tavares, the city's animal services manager, had promised to find homes for as many rats as possible but admitted Wednesday that some 1,020 of them had to be put down.
"We euthanized all of the adults except the ones we have to keep on quarantine because they bit staff," she said. "They weren't social. I would call them feral. We found many with eyeballs missing, teeth growing into the opposite jaw, huge abscesses with open wounds. Some were starving."
Rat fanciers, who had formed an e-mail chain called "petalumarats" in an attempt to find homes for the rodents, were horrified. The shelter was bombarded Wednesday with angry phone calls and e-mails. Most members of the rat lobby felt they had been misled.
"This is an unspeakable injustice to those rats who deserved better," Phyllis Mason, a self-described rat lover, wrote in an e-mail. "Why didn't the Petaluma Animal Shelter give us a chance to help? I cannot imagine that all of those rats were ill. It seems to me that they felt overwhelmed and just didn't want to bother with them."
Tina Bird of Campbell said rat fanciers were in the process of mobilizing when the rodents were killed.
"Maybe they would have been better advised to leave the animals in their horrible conditions until we, the rat community, had a few days to get moving," she wrote in an e-mail. "Be sure that animal lovers across the United States will be scrutinizing Petaluma's actions and culpability for this slaughter."
Nine of the remaining rats have been adopted, four are available at the Rohnert Park animal shelter, and 30 more are being taken to Los Angeles to be put up for adoption by the Rat and Mouse Club of America, Tavares said.
She said another 20 are being neutered, and all the females are being held for 21 days so veterinarians can determine whether they are pregnant. In all, about 150 rats are either available or will be available for adoption. Rats are also commonly available in pet stores around the Bay Area.
Tavares said potential adoptees who come to the shelter must be carefully screened. She said a woman who adopted rabbits from the shelter a year ago turned out to be a pet hoarder.
"We're not going to give them to another home that is just as bad," she said. "Our philosophy is not that any life is preferable to death. Quality of life counts."
The rat fanciers, she said, are not being rational.
"Everybody's saying you can't euthanize them and they all say they want to help, but very few can take any," she said. "We're not enjoying this, but frankly there aren't enough homes."
Meanwhile, Tavares said, animal control officers went back to Dier's home Wednesday to capture about two dozen more rats that were reportedly still scampering around his house.
She said Dier, a convicted armed robber who first gained notoriety when his home in Southern California was used as a hideout for two men later convicted in the 1963 plot to kidnap the son and namesake of Rat Pack leader Frank Sinatra, didn't seem like a bad guy, just a bit troubled.
"He's an intelligent man to talk to, but he smells like rat urine," Tavares said. "He told me that when he had only 100 of them, he'd let them sleep with him in his bed. They'd get all in his shorts and stuff. And you can't potty train them, so you know they were urinating and defecating in there."
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