Poisoned pets dumped in garbage bin

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 21, 2013 in Rat News | Subscribe

Dr. Hugh MacLeod is used to dealing with traumatic and stressful situations.

He’s been an emergency room doctor for about 15 years while moonlighting as an improv instructor and owner of The Staircase theatre on Dundurn Street North.

But he was admittedly taken aback when he spotted an elaborate homemade cage in the garbage beside the theatre, one evening last week.

Inside the three-tier structure, which had been lovingly constructed from wire mesh and looked like a giant birdcage, were two pet rats. One rat was dead and the other was barely alive. They had apparently both ingested rat poison, which had been placed intentionally inside the cage.

MacLeod doesn’t believe the poisoning had anything to do with the theatre or that it was a Mafia-style warning of any sort.

He believes the person responsible just used the theatre – which has several garbage bins behind the building – as a convenient place to dispose of the unwanted pets.

“Since the cage was sitting by the trash on trash day, I only presumed it was somebody dumping the creatures,” MacLeod says. “The dumping of the pets seemed mean enough, but the poisoning seemed really strange.”

He believes the rodents could have been pets at one time, as it appears the owner took the time to build an elaborate home for them.

“The animals were clearly cared for at some point,” he says. “After thinking about it, I wondered if it was some sort of relationship breakup or someone who was suicidal.” 

“Either way, it was sad and disconcerting,” he adds.

MacLeod took the surviving rat to the Hamilton SPCA on Dartnall Road in an effort to find it a new home.

That’s where he met Carol Ricciuto, founder of the Open Sky Raptor Foundation in Grimsby, where she has been rescuing and rehabilitating injured raptors since 1996.

The sight of Macleod carrying such a large cage for such a small pet caught Ricciuto’s eye. She estimates the cage was nearly a meter high and appeared to have been built with sensitivity and care. It featured separate areas in which the pets could eat, sleep and socialize. And there was even a small house built from popsicles sticks where the pets could duck for privacy.

Like MacLeod, Ricciuto can’t understand why someone would just toss the animals, especially after putting so much time and effort into building a home for them.

“We live in a society of stupid people,” she says. “We’re not the most intelligent species.”

But she was impressed by MacLeod’s kindness and compassion and offered to adopt the pet rat and its mobile home, after learning the shelter didn’t have a place for it.

“I breed pet rats as food for the raptors,” she says. “He wanted to be assured the rat wouldn’t be fed to my injured orphaned raptors.”

She gave her word and took the rodent and his cage to Grimsby.

Although still scraggly, he’s a friendly fellow and making good progress. Ricciuto says she’ll find some female companions for him and try to integrate him into her breeding operation when he’s fully recovered.

“He’s leading the life of Riley,” she laughs.

MacLeod has dubbed him “Survivor.”




Article source: http://hamilton.openfile.ca/hamilton/file/2011/06/poisoned-pets-dumped-garbage-bin

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