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Before you read this: Felicity is my guard rat. She hates men and has bitten a few. (no blood) oops

So, I found this little hole-in-the-wall pet store in my city. It was humid and hot and small. When I walked in (with Felicity on my shoulder) they had just got a new shipment of live feeder rats. Some of the rats, the ones who looked kind of healthy, were put into tiny wire cages with no enrichment. The ones with visible cuts, hair loss, or tumors were sentenced to a much worse fate.

I was looking at the scared PEW ratties in the wire cages, forcing myself to not bring one home, when this teenage boy came out of a back room with a plastic bin full of ratties. The boy sat on a stool facing an open freezer. He grabbed one rat by the tail and swung the rat in circle and let go so that it landed in the freezer. It was dreadful. I heard the rattie's poor body hit the freezer and it screamed. The boy grabbed another rattie out of the bin...

I marched right up to that boy and grabbed the poor rat out of his grasp. I was about to land a punch on the boys face when Felicity leaps off of my shoulder and into the lap of the boy. He squirms and tries to shake her off, but Felicity is already halfway up his shirt. She climbs up and onto his shoulder where she takes a big bite of his earlobe. I grab Felicity and leave the establishment in a rush.

I immediately called Animal Services, but they couldn't "do anything about it" because the rats were just feeders and were supposed to die in that freezer anyway. As I was calling, the boy called the police and the city sent one police officer to arrest me and take Felicity away. But, thankfully, the officer had a heart and a cage full of loved rats at home. The officer inspected the establishment and told the owner that the rats had to be "humanely euthanized" before being put in the freezer. He also stated that the live rats needed larger cages and enrichment. The boy is currently doing 30 days of community service in an animal shelter.

So, Felicity and I won!

 

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I'm glad that the boy is doing community service for how he was abusing the feeder rats... However, having a rat come up and bite part of your ear off isn't going to make you treat animals any better, and it might have gotten your rat killed. If you know that she can be aggressive, why did you have her out in public the first place? I'm sorry, but this makes no sense to me.

I keep snakes and would never take one out in public.. I know they can react from fear and there is a possiblity that one might bite someone.... They have such a bad rep anyway, this would be the last thing snakes need PR wise.. Just imagine the hysteria that would cause. In your case, it could go the same way.. Many people hate rates or fear them due to what we see in the media... Just imagine the local news story "vicious rat bites off part of boy's ear"... they'd never hear about what he was doing to the feeder rats.

It would probably have gone better if you did not have her, had seen what happened, informed the local authorities and /or shelter.. maybe even videoed it with your phone then given the local news / humane society footage to use.

And just to be clear, I do have snakes, that do eat rodents, but all are humanely euthanized... I have never heard of any reptile keeper doing what you described to live rats, nor would any responsible keeper or store.
 

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^ 100% what artgecko said.

Not only will an aggressive rat do damage to rats' reputation as a whole but you could have LOST your rat. If that cop hadn't had a soft heart, you would have... Nay, SHOULD have lost your rat. YOU attacked the boy first. YOU admit to being ready to punch him. YOU were the instigator. He was doing his job. The best thing to do would have been to walk out as soon as you saw something was wrong and then report the abuse. I know many ignore rat abuse, but some animal rights groups might be able to help.

You experienced an excessive amount of dumb luck here... 1, your rat was thankfully not hurt. 2, you thankfully weren't arrested for assault. 3, your rat was thankfully not taken from you by the police despite the fact that legally, they probably should have.

If he had attacked you first and your rat bit him, that'd be one thing, but you instigated it, which made your rat think she had to defend you.

I am glad that police officer told the store to treat the rats better.
 

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As a fellow shoulder ratter, I spend a great deal of time educating people that rats don't bite and make perfect friends and companions. Just about every part of this story makes me cringe for different reasons... And that's why I suppose I find it hard to support what you and Felicity did... even when my gut instinct is to applaud you.

So all I can say is that I'm happy it worked out for the best in the end. I can think of so many ways things could have gone even more terribly wrong. Sometimes all's well that ends well is the best epitaph for a tale like this.
 

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Love both Felicity and you for defending the well being of those poor rats.

Keep Felicity safe please and don't bring her in public, it would of been heartbreaking if you hadn't ran into such a nice police officer.
 
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