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  1. #1
    Piggybank Cop's Avatar
    Piggybank Cop is offline Nobody important.
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    Talk about a rats nest call

    One rat leads to another and another and ...
    Man details how one rodent bought as python food turned into 1,300

    Updated: 4:17 a.m. CT June 30, 2006
    PETALUMA, Calif. - It all started four years ago when Roger Dier bought a baby rat to feed his pet Indian python. But when he saw the furry little critter squeaking for its life, the lifelong animal lover said he didn't have the heart to let it become just another snake snack.

    "I couldn't stand it," he told The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa. "I took the rat out of the cage and got to know it."

    After that, Dier was hooked on the rodents, which he described as gentle, lovable and an endless source of entertainment. He later bought four more at the pet store ó but didn't think to spay or neuter them.

    Last week, animal control officers discovered more than 1,300 rats in Dier's small one-bedroom Petaluma home, after a neighbor complained about the foul smell. He was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty.

    Dier, 67, said depression, loneliness, denial and a recent bout of flu and bronchitis kept him from maintaining control of the fast-breeding population.

    "I did not set out to do this," he told The Press Democrat. "I do acknowledge irresponsibility and there's a case for laziness, denial, incompetence and just plain foolishness."

    But "it was not all my fault," he added. "It was this force of nature that overwhelmed me."

    Another Rat Pack connection
    The infestation at his home wasn't Dier's first encounter with a rat pack.

    In 1963, his Culver City apartment was used as a hideout by two of three men who were later convicted of kidnapping Frank Sinatra Jr., son of the legendary Rat Pack crooner. Dier said he later served two prison terms for an unrelated weapons charge and armed robbery.

    "I was just a young kid. I was mixed up," he said.

    Dier moved to Petaluma in 1978, working at an assembly plant and as a stained glass maker. He now lives off a small inheritance from his mother.

    By all appearances, Dier looks like an everyday retiree, donning jeans and an Hawaiian shirt on a warm afternoon and driving a new Toyota Tacoma.

    But his house, located in a quiet middle-class neighborhood, reeks of urine. The floor is covered with the chaff of feed mixed with rat droppings, and everything is gnawed on, including the sheetrock walls, according to The Press Democrat.

    When animal control officers arrived, they found some rats stacked six deep in cages so overcrowded that many had missing eyes and limbs.

    Up to 250 pounds of food a week
    Dier admitted that he felt some relief when they were confiscated, noting the "crushing burden" of trying to care for them. He was up to buying 250 pounds of rat food a week.

    Most of the rats have been euthanized, some because they were too sick or injured and others because they weren't socialized well enough to be adopted, said Nancee Tavares, manager of Petaluma Animal Services.

    "We believe quality of life is important, and there was no quality of life for these rats," she said.

    Rat lovers have expressed outrage at the euthanizations, but Tavares said the pace of adoptions has gone too slowly to expect all the rats to find homes. As of Thursday, only 12 of the rodents had gotten new owners, while different shelters and animal rescue groups promised to take about 30 off the agency's hands.

    "We've gotten a lot of people criticizing us, but not offering to take one or two," Tavares said.

    Meanwhile, Dier, who was allowed to keep his seven cats, said he was grieving the loss ó and deaths ó of his furry friends.

    "That's a darn pity," Dier said. "It's unfair to the animals. I'm not saying I wasn't unfair letting them be born into existence, but they didn't deserve to die."

    We are the thin blue line
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    And no you can't have any.

  2. #2
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    Holy hell! Imagine that smell. Ugh.
    Thereís a promise I need you to make
    While Iím gone you take care of the love
    And Iíll deal with the hate.

    Donít worry about me; Iíll be all right
    Just care for your children and sleep tight
    Iíll keep you safe on my watch tonight
    ~
    On My Watch Tonight - Mike Corrado

  3. #3
    zpd307's Avatar
    zpd307 is offline Master Officer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Post#83Chief
    Holy hell! Imagine that smell. Ugh.
    just wait, i had a medical yesterday where a 93 yoa femal had fallen in her bathroom. she was confused and could not get up. she had been there for an unknown time. from the smell she had been there long enough to relieve herself while on the floor and for it to ripen. i damn near puked several times!!!
    MANNNNN.... YOU MUST BE FAST, BECAUSE I WAS HAULIN ASS WHEN I PASSED YOU!

  4. #4
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    DRT (dead right there) the other day after two days of 90 degree weather in a closed un-A/C apartment. Yummy. As far as the rats go, why not send them to a chinese restaurant? At least we would get some benefit of 'em being killed.
    And Shepards we shall be,
    for thee, My Lord, for thee,
    Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
    That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
    So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
    And teeming with souls will it ever be.
    In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zpd307
    just wait, i had a medical yesterday where a 93 yoa femal had fallen in her bathroom. she was confused and could not get up. she had been there for an unknown time. from the smell she had been there long enough to relieve herself while on the floor and for it to ripen. i damn near puked several times!!!
    Better you than me.
    Thereís a promise I need you to make
    While Iím gone you take care of the love
    And Iíll deal with the hate.

    Donít worry about me; Iíll be all right
    Just care for your children and sleep tight
    Iíll keep you safe on my watch tonight
    ~
    On My Watch Tonight - Mike Corrado

  6. #6
    Ducky's Avatar
    Ducky is offline Enforcer General
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    Oh dear god. Ok, I have owned rats for the last 6 years. This is the first time in this time that I haven't had one in all that time, as my last one passed away a couple of months ago. I've never had them breed due to the simple fact that I keep the boys in a separate cage from the girls, and the most I've had at any time was three. They're easy to keep and to train, if you have a brain. They aren't generally agressive (as hamsters or gerbils are) and absolutely love socializing with people. I'm not advocating catching a wild rat and making it into a pet, but getting a young rat from a pet store isn't the worst pet choice you can make.

    That being said, this guy has some serious issues. Not being a responsible pet owner sounds like the least of his problems.

    zpd, Con, you guys know that I have nothing but the highest respect for both of you. But damn, I agree with Post. Better you guys than me. But I'll buy either of you a beer on demand.
    \\
    ` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
    `` ` ` ` (3--(____)
    "...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtN1YnoL46Q


 

 

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