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On The Scene: Rat Hoarding Rescue

A&E show to feature rescue of 2,000 pet rats

  • Rats are curious about anything new—in this case, people there to help them. Alex Gallardo

  • Rescuers used equal parts food and patience to lure out the stragglers. Alex Gallardo

  • A rat peeked out of the filthy ruins of a desk. Alex Gallardo

Funny and affectionate, rats make wonderful pets. But a house with thousands of pet rats in it is a breeding ground for animal suffering and neglect.

In November, The Humane Society of the United States and NorthStar Rescue teamed up with A&E's "Hoarders" television show to remove approximately 2,000 pet rats from a hoarding situation in Southern California.

The animals were transported to temporary shelter in San Jose and are now available for adoption through NorthStar Animal rescue.

An upcoming "Hoarders" show will take you behind the scenes of this huge rat rescue operation.

Watch The HSUS in action on A&E's "Hoarders," January 10, 2011. See listings for episode 41.

"The staggering number of animals makes this case unique, but it's sadly something our rescue team sees all too often—an animal lover who has gotten out of control and simply has more animals than he can properly care for," said Adam Parascandola, director of animal cruelty issues for The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States is grateful to A&E for calling us in to help give these animals a second chance."

The HSUS and North Star removed approximately 2,000 rats from the home in November 2010. The property owner surrendered all of the animals to North Star. The HSUS provided animal handling and transportation assistance for this case.

When rescuers arrived on the scene they found hundreds of rats roaming freely throughout the house. Some were suffering from skin conditions, parasites, and other medical ailments. The owner kept several rats as pets, but became overwhelmed and allowed them to breed until they eventually took over the house.

The HSUS has transferred more than 1,500 of the rats to a temporary shelter set up in the adoption center at Andy's Pet Shop in San Jose. The HSUS has called in United Animal Nations to set up the temporary shelter and provide sheltering assistance. North Star will be caring for the rats at Andy's Pet Shop until they are adopted out to new homes. PetSmart Charities® also donated much-needed sheltering supplies for the rescued animals.

This rescue mission will be featured in Hoarders' season three finale episode.


Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-onprograms. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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