KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – As KC Pet Project is waiting on more rodent cages to arrive, they are keeping the 217 rats that were rescued from a hoarder house Monday in cat kennels.
It seemed like there was no end to the crates and crates of rats, rabbits and reptiles that came out of one duplex. But KC Pet Project found a place for all of them, cleaning them up and getting them ready for adoption.
“Our staff was here until midnight getting them all in,” Tori Fugate with KC Pet Project said.
Fugate feared the 200 plus rats would only be the beginning. In hoarding situations, the owners often allow the animals to breed, but so far, this one looks different.
“Once we got them here, we realized they were separated by sex, so that's helpful,” Fugate said.
They're also holding on to a few of the animals the original owner was allowed to keep. The city is requiring him to clean the duplex before he can go back inside.
KC Pet Project has even dealt with rat hoarding situations before, they rescued dozens from a similar situation over the winter, they hope they can adopt out all of them.
There's no hard limit on the number of small rodents the city allows, but the conditions this situation created were far from livable, for any creature.
Fugate says the rats are surprisingly healthy and well-behaved. The shelter believes most will be ready for a home in time for Valentine's Day.
“Considering how many there are, we're lucky most of them are ready for adoption and we should start placing them very soon,” Fugate said.
Since rats are social creatures, they only adopt them in groups of two or three and they keep the genders separate.
This story isn't just about the animal's wellbeing, it shed some important light on a human issue, too.
“We think about the animals, but we also need to think about the people. In this case, we want to find ways to get that individual some help,” community liaison for the city John Baccala said.
Baccala says like most hoarding cases, it likely started with good intentions.
“He obviously cared about them. He gave names to 40 of them,” Baccala said.
It's one of several hoarding cases we've seen in our area in the past couple of years.
Police found more than 40 dogs in a home in Bates County in 2017.
KCTV5 News showed you a story of a woman with 130 birds last fall.
A cat hoarding situation in Lexington, Missouri, was so bad local FFA students made coolers to help a local shelter keep them warm.
Kipples, a white, tan and black tabby and 73 other cats are part of the hoarded cats now lovingly given the title Hope Cats. They've been at Spay and Neuter Kansas City for a few weeks and now they're only a couple of weeks from finding new hom
“There's a common denominator in all of it, and it's that they don't realize it's gotten out of control until it's gotten out of control,” Baccala said.