by Diana Hockley
As you may have guessed, KRL loves animals, and we also enjoy highlighting those who rescue them. This week we are chatting with Philly Rat Rescue.
KRL: Rescuing animals is a labor of love and total dedication. What was the catalyst for you to acquire Philly Rat Rescue and when did this happen?
Annette: A few of us (Annette, RSteve F, Sarita RF, Doug B, Maria McM) founded Philly Rat Rescue in August 2012 (our St. Francis Rat Sanctuary was established in October 2012 as an extension of PRR), after another rat rescue some of us were involved with relocated out of Philadelphia. We wanted a rat rescue presence to remain in the city of Philadelphia proper.
KRL: How did you personally get involved?
Annette: I have been a rat aficionado since 1971 and a rat owner since 1985.
KRL: What sort of set-up do you have? Is it a private house, a shed or a purpose-built complex?
Annette: We are a network of private foster homes and have a central administrative location.
KRL: How many animals can you accommodate, and do you rescue other animals (e.g., hamsters or guinea pigs) as well, in an emergency perhaps?
KRL: Are you a registered charity for rescue or tax exemption purposes?
Annette: We received 501(c)3 US tax exempt charity status in June 2017.
KRL: Do the local authorities support you?
Annette: Yes, they do.
KRL: How does the local community regard your activities and are they supportive in adoption and/or monetary terms?
Annette: We operate privately for the most part. Some local community members from time to time have supported us as they find out about us.
KRL: Do you have many volunteers and how do you recruit them?
Annette: We prefer to keep our volunteer pool small and local, as this is easier to supervise and maintain.
KRL: Rescues depend on donations from the public. Do you charge a small fee for your animals when they are adopted? And do you have PayPal and credit card facilities?
Annette: We do use Paypal: paypal.me/phillyratrescue. We ask a $15.00 donation for solo rats that must be adopted alone, and $25.00 for pairs. We ask a maximum of $35.00 for groups of three or more adopted at the same time in order to keep bonded groups together.
KRL: What are the special challenges to rescuing rats?
Annette: Having the right chew-proof and escape-proof cages, screening adopters extra carefully to weed out snake owners wanting rats as “food”, overcoming the phobia many have of rats.
KRL: How many animals do you think you have saved so far?
Annette: Since 2012, I would say about 3,000 including litters.
KRL: Have you any fundraising or adoption events coming up and would you like to give the details?
Annette: Due to physical disability, we had to limit our public events. However, we do occasional public events and presentations at schools upon request. We also attend the local Blessing of the Animals each October 4th at local churches, partly to make sure ratties are represented.
KRL: Do local vet surgeries help in any way?
Annette: Yes. We work with two local vet practices, one of which is an exotics vet.
KRL: Does the nearest ASPCA send rats to you, and do they help if they can?
Annette: We usually limit our rat intakes to rats in the most severe situations, such as outside abandonments and abuse cases. We only take solo or paired rats from shelters if we have space.
KRL: Have you been involved in any hoarder or big rescues? If so, would you tell us about it?
Annette: We were involved in a Maryland hoarding case in 2013 and one in Shoemakersville, PA the same year. We no longer have the manpower or transportation to be involved in large hoarding situations, as we are a very small rescue.
KRL: What are your most urgent needs right now and how can people help?
Annette: Believe it or not, our most urgent need is old newspapers and/or packing paper as sold on Amazon! Our vet advised us to use this as bedding since its hypoallergenic and doesn’t harbor mites.
KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?
Annette: We are more than just a rat rescue/sanctuary. We also are a rat advocacy organization determined to correct the prejudicial negative image so many have of rats.
KRL: What are your website URL and FB and Twitter details?
Annette: Our website is: www.phillyratrescue.com. We are also on Facebook and Mewe. On Facebook we have a public page for PRR and a separate page for our sanctuary, as well as a private group for adopters and supporters. We are not on Twitter.
KRL: What is the mission statement for your rescue?
Annette: Our mission is to rescue as many domestic rats in dire situations as possible, and to educate the public to help dispel negative stereotypes about rats. We see prejudice against rats as similar to other irrational hatreds, such as contempt for racial minorities and people of size. We believe books shouldn’t be judged by their covers, and this includes rats.
Our address and phone are:
PHILLY RAT RESCUE/SFRS
P. O. Box 45662, Philadelphia, PA 19149-5662
Phone: 856 357 6603
Donation link: paypal.me/phillyratrescue
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