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Thread: 1000 rats found in Petaluma home

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    1000 rats found in Petaluma home

    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...GFDJJ61J16.DTL
    There is pictures of some of the ratties at the link.

    Petaluma animal control workers expected to find a horde of cats when they knocked on the door of a 67-year-old man whose neighbor complained of stench. Instead, they stumbled onto a scene straight out the movie, "Willard."

    About 1,000 pet rats -- ranging from 3-year-old adults to little, pink newborns -- shared the one-room house with Roger Dier.

    Dier kept nearly all of his small furry friends in about 20 huge cages that he lined up around the room. About 20 of his rats were running around loose, said Nancee Tavares, Petaluma Animal Services manager.

    He also shared the place with seven cats.

    "His bed was in the middle of the room, and there was food, cat litter and who knows what else all over the floor," Tavares said.

    Whatever else was on the floor wafted into the noses of neighbors, who complained to animal services about what they thought was the smell of cat urine coming from Dier's house.

    When Dier opened the door to the Animal Services workers on Tuesday, he told them that he had only seven cats, but added that he did own "a lot of rats," Tavares said.

    Animal Services confiscated the rodents Tuesday and spent about $1,000 dollars for cages that are serving as temporary homes at the animal shelter.

    Dier was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty. He kept as many as 50 rats in each of the 30-by-24 inch cages -- crowded conditions, but most of his pets were otherwise well-fed and cared for, Tavares said.

    "He made some attempt to segregate the males from the females, but he just became overwhelmed," Tavares said.

    Dier also purchased about 250 pounds of rat food every week, she said.

    Neighbors described Dier as a quiet man who sometimes worked a computer-related job at night. They said he lived in the home -- one of four in a complex -- on the 800 block of Bodega Avenue for 17 years, and sometimes, they added, he didn't have enough money to pay for electricity.

    Dier's landlord, Saverio DiTomaso, said he recently sold the four-house complex because of the headaches that Dier and the rats have caused.

    "I could smell the piss from the cats, and then when I saw the rats I went berserk," DiTomaso said. "I didn't want to report him though because I felt sorry for him."

    DiTomaso said Dier promised to get rid of the rats. About two weeks ago DiTomaso went against his policy and entered Dier's house. He found that the rats had dug holes through the basement to the yard outside.

    "I think it was a dirty trick because I trusted him," DiTomaso said. "I knew there were cats, but rats?"

    Neighbor Dave Blake said he killed one of the rats, which strayed too close to his home.

    "I can't envision anybody living like that because I hate rats," Blake said.

    Animal Services will put the adolescent male rats up for adoption for $5 each starting Tuesday. They will put the females up for adoption in 21 days -- their usual gestation period -- to make sure they aren't pregnant.

    About 70 rats were euthanized because they were sick or injured, Tavares said. That leaves the shelter with more than 900 rats.

    Tavares doesn't expect many will be adopted. Those that are not adopted will be euthanized, she said.

    "They're not that popular," she said. "But they're nice pets, believe it or not. They're very social, they like to ride on their owner's shoulder."

    Tavares hopes Dier, whom she described as a "classic hoarder," doesn't face any charges or additional citations.

    She hopes he will submit to mandatory monitoring by Animal Services and be allowed to keep no more than two rats.

    "Hoarders have a 100 percent rate of recidivism unless some action is taken," she said.

    Petaluma animal control workers have experience dealing with hoarders. In 2001, they found 196 cats living inside a Petaluma home owned by a San Francisco resident, Marilyn Barletta.

    Anyone interested in adopting a rat can reach Petaluma Animal Services at 707-778-4396.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Good God.

    Some people! Not only is that completely inhumane for all animals, how he could stand to live in conditions like that is completely beyond me.

    Wish I could adopt one of the ratties

    Zimbabwe 07/13


  3. #3
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    How can he live in those conditions? I like rats, but I think 1 or 2 is enough. He went way overboard. How inhumane. I bet those poor animals were living in their own feces.
    Mikey - [Pug/Beagle Mix] Spock and T'Stala - [Hermit Crabs] Rest in Peace, Bo. I love you - [African Cawed Frog] Bo II - [Guppy] Buzz - [VT Male Betta] Chippewa - [BT Male Betta]
    "Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you."

  4. #4
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    I wonder what happened to the cats? If their urine stank, maybe they need to be neutered and spayed.

    I hope maybe some neighbours will look after that, or Animal Services.

    Hopefully this guy will get some mandatory counselling.

    Catty1
    "Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere." -- Erma Bombeck

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    That is only a few hours from here, right by my favorite part of california. That is really sad. I feel sorry for the man, something is obviously wrong with him.
    don't breed or buy while shelter dogs die....

    I have been frosted!

    Thanks Kfamr for the signature!


  6. #6
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    I saw a woman who hoarded cats on Animal Cops. It was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.

  7. #7
    Poor guy, being a horder is a horrible disease, as not only do the animals suffer, but so does the person. The person usually does try to care for the pets, as this man was feeding his Rats well, but it usually gets out of control & the person isn't quiet all there, so they do not realize what they have done, until the pets are taken away & they are explained what they did.

    I do hope he gets better & the rats find homes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    San Francisco, CA, where life is happy and gay!
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    They killed them All!


    Little Ms. Mitzi Mitts
    Our Photo Albums are
    Here and Here
    In memory of my beloved fur children, Goldie, Mishi and Mitzi.
    Rest in peace and play hard at the Rainbow Bridge.
    Goldie: 9/5/88 - 4/10/03
    Mishi: with us from 5/5/03 - 7/13/07
    Mitzi: with us from 4/19/03 - 1/23/10

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Oh my gosh How very sad for those poor ratties.

    We found many with eyeballs missing, teeth growing into the opposite jaw, huge abscesses with open wounds. Some were starving."
    Oh it turns my insides in knots to think of all the suffering those poor babies went through. I could understand for certain ones which evidently had suffered enough to be PTS humanly. But all of them, I'm not surprised so many people are angry.

    Zimbabwe 07/13


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