First page of the Pet archive.

Manawatu Science Fair features animals, explosions and erosion …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 22, 2017 in Rat News
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Jonah Ackerman, 12 and Max Miller, 12, from Ashhurst school check out some of the exhibits at the Manawatu Science and ...

Jonah Ackerman, 12 and Max Miller, 12, from Ashhurst school check out some of the exhibits at the Manawatu Science and Technology Fair.

Clever children have been hard at work making vinegar explosions, designing play equipment for rats and looking for ways to solve the world’s hunger problems. 

The Manawatu Science and Technology Fair, which started on Thursday, received 146 entries from primary and secondary school children this year.

Volunteer Barbara Arnold said this year there was a strong interest in themes to do with the Pacific, erosion and experiments involving animals – even though that required an extra step of national ethics approval for animal experiments.  

Animal tests included what colour food tray pigs prefer, what food rabbits prefer and what temperature and moon conditions deer are most active in. 

“There’s been a rush on soil erosion, one’s about the erosion in the Gorge, that’s new – relating it to something topical,” Arnold said. 

“It’s so good to see them picking up on something and going with it. They are really enthusiastic.” 

Experiments that could help heal the world included finding the best method to clean up oil after a marine spill and how aquaponics could help feed hungry populations. 

Ashhurst School pupil Kaci Whaanga, 12, entered the technology category, designing and making play equipment for her pet rats using non-toxic, easily obtainable, recycled materials such as newspaper, cork, alpaca fibre and flax. 

“I used papier mache​ and made hammocks and houses and bridges so they can get to everything in the cage.

“They really like them, they ate some of it, but it wasn’t harmful at all.”

Max Miller, 12, designed and made a bike-driven cell phone charger, that was so successful his friends have encouraged him to start a business.

“That felt really nice. I liked the engineering stuff like soldering.”  

The fair is open for public viewing from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 10am to noon on Sunday, at Barber Hall, Waldegrave St, Palmerston North. A prizegiving ceremony will be held at Palmerston North Girls’ High on Saturday evening. 


 – Stuff

Next News story:

‘I thought she was gone’: 6-year-old girl hit by a ute is on the mend in hospital

Manawatu Standard Homepage

Article source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/95884023/Manawatu-Science-Fair-features-animals-explosions-and-erosion

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Fire quelled at Cliffside Apartments in Sunderland

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 21, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

SUNDERLAND — Unattended cooking caused a fire at Cliffside Apartments Aug. 9 that sent one to the hospital with smoke inhalation, according to the state fire marshal’s office.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Mieth said Aug. 10 that an individual noticed the fire start, but suffered smoke inhalation after entering the room to try and put it out. That person was transported to the hospital.

Firefighters from nearly 10 neighboring towns responded to the fire at the M building of the apartment community at 248 Amherst Road around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters rescued pet rats, a cat and a small dog from the building. None of the animals were harmed, despite heavy smoke damage inside.

Mieth said cooking is the top cause of fires in homes and of fire-related injuries. She said the fire marshal’s office promotes two safety-related messages:

Stand by your pan. Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking

Put a lid on it. Should a stove top fire occur, place a lid over it and turn off the heat, and the flames should smother.

Sunderland Fire Capt. Michael Zeoli said the fire was reported around 6:30 p.m., and firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from building M.

Firefighters from several neighboring towns responded to the incident. They smashed a front window, entered with charged hoselines, and quickly knocked down the flames. Thirty minutes later, thin black smoke could be seen drifting out of a third-story window.

“A lot of times we have to cut a hole in the roof to let gases out,” Zeoli said, looking up South Deerfield’s extended ladder truck. At the top, firefighters watched the roof for flareups. Some of the shingles were burned black.

It’s not clear how many, if any, residents were displaced.

Responding fire departments included Sunderland, Amherst, Montague Center, Deerfield, South Deerfield, Whately, Conway, Greenfield, Hadley and Leverett. South County EMS, and an ambulance from Amherst Fire Department were also on scene.

Article source: http://www.amherstbulletin.com/a1-fire-in-sunderland-11890770

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‘Our 16 pet rats have to be quarantined’: Owners call for better health …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 20, 2017 in Rat News
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A COUPLE who have adopted 16 rats are calling for pet stores to carry out better health checks after opting to put their animals into quarantine.

Charlotte Bailey and her partner Nicky Story have dedicated the last three months to caring for their pet rats they either bought or adopted from Pets at Home, in Cowdray Avenue.

However she says nearly all have fallen ill within the first 24 hours of being at the couple’s home, in Churchill Way, Colchester.

They have taken the rats back to the vets at Pets at Home to be treated for ringworm, mites and even tumours.

Miss Bailey said: “We started off with two and after 24 hours they had breathing problems, so we took them to the vets and they were given antibiotics.”

From then on, the couple say almost every rat fell ill. Some of her rats have since been treated for mites, stomach cancer, and ringworm.

She said: “When the two with ringworm were introduced to the others they all got ringworm.

“It’s heartbreaking as we just want to give them a home.”

They have had to separate the rats into a number of different cages to prevent any infection or illness spreading. Last week she took one of her rats, Tyrion, back to the store as he had an eye infection, and was not happy with the service.

Miss Bailey said: “It’s one thing after another and I dread to think how much we have spent on tests.

The rats should be kept in quarantine at the shop.

“There has been a couple of occasions where the vets there have helped us but we wouldn’t have to keep doing this if they did proper checks.

“I have been spending five hours a day building bonds with them, it really upset me as I am going through heartache and stress with them.”

A spokesman for Pets at Home said: “We believe that every pet should enjoy a happy, safe and healthy life so we were sorry to learn of so many pet rats becoming unwell in this customer’s care. 

“We keep detailed electronic records of every pet that leaves our store.  From these we follow up with new pet owners to make sure their pet is settling in to their new home. 

“If there are reports of illness we have experts who can investigate thoroughly and take action accordingly.  Having checked our records we have found nothing that would indicate a problem with the health of our pet rats.

“Our pets come only from breeders who are carefully selected and audited to ensure they meet our strict code of practice. 

“Pets are health checked before they leave the breeder and are brought to our stores in our own fleet of climate-controlled vans. 

“On arrival they are kept in a quiet room for a specified number of days to allow them time to settle into their new environment.  Here, their condition is carefully monitored before they are moved into the store for sale. 

“We have a fully equipped veterinary practice in our store in Colchester.  If we suspect any of our pets may be under the weather we will always seek veterinary advice and follow their recommendations for treatment – irrespective of cost.  We provide exactly the same care for any pets that are offered for adoption.”

Article source: http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/local/15430729.___Our_16_pet_rats_have__to_be_quarantined_____Owners_call_for_better_health_checks/

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Manawatu Science Fair features animals, explosions and erosion …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 19, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

Jonah Ackerman, 12 and Max Miller, 12, from Ashhurst school check out some of the exhibits at the Manawatu Science and ...

Jonah Ackerman, 12 and Max Miller, 12, from Ashhurst school check out some of the exhibits at the Manawatu Science and Technology Fair.

Clever children have been hard at work making vinegar explosions, designing play equipment for rats and looking for ways to solve the world’s hunger problems. 

The Manawatu Science and Technology Fair, which started on Thursday, received 146 entries from primary and secondary school children this year.

Volunteer Barbara Arnold said this year there was a strong interest in themes to do with the Pacific, erosion and experiments involving animals – even though that required an extra step of national ethics approval for animal experiments.  

Animal tests included what colour food tray pigs prefer, what food rabbits prefer and what temperature and moon conditions deer are most active in. 

“There’s been a rush on soil erosion, one’s about the erosion in the Gorge, that’s new – relating it to something topical,” Arnold said. 

“It’s so good to see them picking up on something and going with it. They are really enthusiastic.” 

Experiments that could help heal the world included finding the best method to clean up oil after a marine spill and how aquaponics could help feed hungry populations. 

Ashhurst School pupil Kaci Whaanga, 12, entered the technology category, designing and making play equipment for her pet rats using non-toxic, easily obtainable, recycled materials such as newspaper, cork, alpaca fibre and flax. 

“I used papier mache​ and made hammocks and houses and bridges so they can get to everything in the cage.

“They really like them, they ate some of it, but it wasn’t harmful at all.”

Max Miller, 12, designed and made a bike-driven cell phone charger, that was so successful his friends have encouraged him to start a business.

“That felt really nice. I liked the engineering stuff like soldering.”  

The fair is open for public viewing from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 10am to noon on Sunday, at Barber Hall, Waldegrave St, Palmerston North. A prizegiving ceremony will be held at Palmerston North Girls’ High on Saturday evening. 


 – Stuff

Next News story:

‘I thought she was gone’: 6-year-old girl hit by a ute is on the mend in hospital

Manawatu Standard Homepage

Article source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/95884023/manawatu-science-fair-features-animals-explosions-and-erosion

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13.7 Cosmos & Culture

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 18, 2017 in Rat News
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Animals can get bored, too, says Barbara J. King.

Animals can get bored, too, says Barbara J. King.

Think about the last time you were bored — seriously and persistently bored.

Maybe you had to carry out some mind-numbing repetitive task for hours on end, or maybe you were just trapped at the airport or train station, waiting out a lengthy delay without a good conversational partner, book, or movie. You look at a clock and it seems to move at a surreal, glacial pace.

Charlotte C. Burn, a biologist at The Royal Veterinary College of the University of London, captures that feeling in her definition of boredom:

“Boredom is an unpleasant emotion including suboptimal arousal levels and a thwarted motivation to experience almost anything different or more arousing than the behaviors and sensations currently possible. It arises when we perceive that there is ‘nothing to do’ or are ‘tired of doing the same thing’, and is accompanied by a sense of time dragging.”

This definition comes from Burn’s essay in the August issue of Animal Behaviour, where she explains that far from being a uniquely human emotion, boredom is felt by many animals ranging from farmed pigs to companion dogs that may be left alone at home for long periods.

“Chronic boredom is distressing and damaging in humans yet barely studied in animals,” Burn notes. In her essay, she explores ways to measure boredom — a key first step to ameliorating it — in different animal species.

In an email to me, Burn describes how her own observations helped her start to develop this argument:

“I was personally struck by it when I did some work with lab rats at the same time as having pet rats and observing wild rats near my home. The huge contrast in stimulation, cognitive requirement and behavioral possibilities between them was impossible to ignore.

Even though my lab rats had as much enrichment as I could fit in their cage, they just had almost nothing to do, every day was the same, they had no ‘life story’ and nothing to learn or decide about.”

Animals, of course, can’t tell us in words about their inner states. One thing I especially like about Burn’s perspective is her way of distinguishing between animal boredom, on the one hand, and apathy or depression on the other. “Boredom occurs when arousal inputs are low, but arousal motivation is high,” she writes in Animal Behaviour. Bored animals seek out ways to become unbored, whereas animals who are depressed often can’t summon the will to seek out alternatives.

To some degree and in some situations, boredom may be adaptive. Boredom might motivate young animals to seek out stimulation that helps them learn about their world.

It might, too, “spark creativity and innovation in animals,” a statement that reminded me of reading about the fantastically creative orangutan Wattana, who tied knots and created weavings through the use of strings, laces, satin ribbons, rubber bands, wool and other materials at the Ménagerie of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

It may not, then, be the species thought to be more intelligent that we should worry about most when it comes to boredom. Burns says:

“More intelligent species may be able to come up with ‘creative’ solutions to their relatively limited environments, such as the playfulness and tool use we sometimes see only in captivity. Also, perhaps almost any animal can get bored if it has nothing relevant to do and all its other needs are fulfilled. I’m thinking here of, say, grazing animals who are fed concentrated food — they’d be happy grazing all day, but now they are not hungry, what else can they fill their time with?”

If animals — no matter their smartness quotient — are forced to endure boredom for a long time, seriously negative consequences may accrue. Marymount University psychologist Stacy Lopresti-Goodman, who has carried out research on trauma in chimpanzees rescued from biomedical laboratories, put it this way, via email:

“Boredom in captivity can absolutely lead to depression. Many animals in captivity engage in abnormal, repetitive behaviors, like pacing and self-biting, in an attempt to self-stimulate in the absence of social, cognitive, or environmental stimulation.

These behaviors are seen in a variety of species, including primates, elephants, dogs, and large cats, in different captive environments, suggesting they are generalized coping mechanisms for stress and boredom.”

When environments are extremely restrictive, even sterile, as in some laboratories, Lopresti-Goodman says, the harm may be the greatest. Animals may pull their own hair or bang their heads against their cages: “In nonhuman primates, for example,” she says, “these behaviors have been equated with symptoms of psychopathology, including generalized anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.”

Burn’s comment that environmental enrichment for her lab rats just wasn’t enough is significant. For some animals in some captive contexts, it’s extremely challenging, if at all possible, to give them mental stimulation even remotely approaching what they would experience if allowed their freedom. As the work of Canadian photographer and activist Jo-Anne McArthur powerfully conveys, I think, the notion that enrichment for zoo animals is either ubiquitous or adequate is naïve.

We need to look inward, too — at our own homes. “As for the pets we live with,” Burn says, “this is all a reminder that even if animals are healthy and loved, they can still suffer — and perhaps REALLY suffer — from sameness and lack of stimulation.” Taking measures to combat boredom in our animal companions may range from giving them extra time, attention and toys to offering them food puzzles on a regular basis.

As Burn writes in Animal Behaviour, boredom “is potentially a severe and highly prevalent animal welfare issue neglected too long.”

Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. She often writes about the cognition, emotion and welfare of animals, and about biological anthropology, human evolution and gender issues. Barbara’s new book is Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat. You can keep up with what she is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/08/10/542438808/dogs-and-pigs-get-bored-too

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Manawatu Science Fair features animals, explosions and erosion

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 17, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

Jonah Ackerman, 12 and Max Miller, 12, from Ashhurst school check out some of the exhibits at the Manawatu Science and Technology Fair.

Manawatu Science Fair features animals, explosions and erosion

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Clever children have been hard at work making vinegar explosions, designing play equipment for rats and looking for ways to solve the world’s hunger problems. 

The Manawatu Science and Technology Fair, which started on Thursday, received 146 entries from primary and secondary school children this year.

Volunteer Barbara Arnold said this year there was a strong interest in themes to do with the Pacific, erosion and experiments involving animals – even though that required an extra step of national ethics approval for animal experiments.  

Animal tests included what colour food tray pigs prefer, what food rabbits prefer and what temperature and moon conditions deer are most active in. 

“There’s been a rush on soil erosion, one’s about the erosion in the Gorge, that’s new – relating it to something topical,” Arnold said. 

“It’s so good to see them picking up on something and going with it. They are really enthusiastic.” 

Experiments that could help heal the world included finding the best method to clean up oil after a marine spill and how aquaponics could help feed hungry populations. 

Ashhurst School pupil Kaci Whaanga, 12, entered the technology category, designing and making play equipment for her pet rats using non-toxic, easily obtainable, recycled materials such as newspaper, cork, alpaca fibre and flax. 

“I used papier mache​ and made hammocks and houses and bridges so they can get to everything in the cage.

“They really like them, they ate some of it, but it wasn’t harmful at all.”

Max Miller, 12, designed and made a bike-driven cell phone charger, that was so successful his friends have encouraged him to start a business.

“That felt really nice. I liked the engineering stuff like soldering.”  

The fair is open for public viewing from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 10am to noon on Sunday, at Barber Hall, Waldegrave St, Palmerston North. A prizegiving ceremony will be held at Palmerston North Girls’ High on Saturday evening. 

– Stuff




Comments

Article source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/national/education/95884023/Manawatu-Science-Fair-features-animals-explosions-and-erosion

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Fire marshal’s office: Cliffside Apartments fire caused by unattended …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 16, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

SUNDERLAND — Unattended cooking caused a fire at Cliffside Apartments Wednesday that sent one to the hospital with smoke inhalation, according to the state fire marshal’s office.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Mieth said Thursday evening that an individual noticed the fire start, but suffered smoke inhalation after entering the room to try and put it out. That person was transported to the hospital.

Firefighters from nearly 10 neighboring towns responded to the fire at the M building of the apartment community at 248 Amherst Road around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters rescued pet rats, a cat and a small dog from the building. None of the animals were harmed, despite heavy smoke damage inside.

Mieth said cooking is the top cause of fires in homes and of fire-related injuries. She said the fire marshal’s office promotes two safety-related messages:

Stand by your pan. Stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking

Put a lid on it. Should a stove top fire occur, place a lid over it and turn off the heat, and the flames should smother.

Article source: http://www.gazettenet.com/a1-sunderland-fire-cause-11800077

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Rodent mama: Phoebe the ‘Rat Girl’ loves her little babies

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 15, 2017 in Rat News
Closed

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Phoebe Blue of Stapleton is also known as “Phoebe the Rat Girl.”

After having guinea pigs for years, the 30-year-old singer-songwriter decided she wanted to take her pet game to a whole new level. 

Blue even wrote a song about it: “I Love My Lil Rat Babies.”

She recorded the track at Studio Bones with her band, the Make Baleaves, and followed it up with “Ratcall,” featuring a beat by American Anymen.

The songs are featured in the above video along with Blue’s touching (believe it or not) story about her beloved pet rats. 

Do you know a unique pet lover? Feel free to sound off in the comments section. 

Article source: http://www.silive.com/seen/2017/08/phoebe_the_rat_girls_pet_rat_e.html

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Fire quelled at Cliffside Apartments in Sunderland – The Recorder

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 14, 2017 in Rat News
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SUNDERLAND — A victim of smoke inhalation was rushed to the hospital Wednesday evening when flames broke out at Cliffside Apartments, 248 Amherst Road.

Sunderland Fire Captain Michael Zeoli said the fire was reported around 6:30 p.m., and firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from building M.

Firefighters from nearly ten neighboring towns smashed a front window, entered with charged hoselines, and quickly knocked down the flames. Thirty minutes later, thin black smoke could be seen drifting out of a third story window. Zeoli said one person was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

At a nearby rehabilitation station, soot-covered firefighters stripped off sweaty gear and relaxed in front of fans. Dozens of residents watched. A few stood in bathrobes.

Firefighters could be seen carrying a few pet rats, a cat, and a small dog from housing units 1-10. None of the animals were harmed, despite heavy smoke damage inside.

It’s not clear how many, if any, residents were displaced. Where the fire started, and what caused it, is still under investigation.

“A lot of times we have to cut a hole in the roof to let gasses out,” Zeoli said, looking up South Deerfield’s extended ladder truck. At the top, firefighters watched the roof for flareups. Some of the shingles were burned black.

By 7:20 p.m., firefighters had begun cleaning up, carrying in tarps to protect furniture and fans to clear smoke. An hour after that, firefighters from some towns began to depart.

Responding fire departments included Sunderland, Amherst, Montague Center, Deerfield, South Deerfield, Whately, Conway, Greenfield, Hadley and Leverett.

A representative from Eversource was on hand to cut power, and local police officers strung yellow tape around the scene. South County EMS, and an ambulance from Amherst Fire Department were also there. Route 116 was never closed to traffic.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo

Article source: http://www.recorder.com/a1-fire-in-sunderland-11776279

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The row over rats in a block of flats that saw one woman spat at in the face and another pull a knife on a neighbour

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Aug 13, 2017 in Rat News
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A nauseating row over rats in a block of flats has led to two tenants being convicted of violence towards neighbours.

One tenant in the block of flats has been accused by neighbours of attracting wild rats, keeping them in his room and feeding them.

One neighbour said she had even taken a photograph on her mobile phone of a rat against the
window and that they would climb over a kettle and utensils. A court also heard that they would “bite through doors” to get into other flats.

Before the court was 50-year-old Peter Brian Jones. He was found guilty of common assault on Michelle Atherton by spitting in her face on May 25. He denied this and told the court: “I haven’t done it. I am the victim. I haven’t got a rat infestation.”

But Miss Atherton, 20, a neighbour from across the road, told the court: “I have seen them myself.”

Gareth Parry, prosecuting, said Miss Atherton had friends in the block of flats and was concerned that Jones “kept rats in his room, not pet rats but wild rats. The suggestion was that he was encouraging them by feeding them”.

He said: “She tried to speak to the defendant about the rat problem but he refused to engage with her.”

Tenants in the block of flats said they had seen rats climb over a kettle and kitchen utensils (the rats pictured are not from the block of flats)
(Image: Staffan Vilcans/Flickr)

In May, police were at the block and Miss Atherton took the opportunity to go across and this was when Jones spat in her face during an exchange, said Mr Parry.

In evidence, Miss Atherton said there was a baby and young children in the flats and the rats would “bite through doors” into other people’s property. Rat poison had been removed by Jones, she alleged.

“They climb on the windows,” she said. “I told him it was unhygienic.”

In a victim statement, Miss Atherton said she showered and washed her hair after being spat at.

“I would rather be punched in the face,” she said.

At Llandudno magistrates court, chairwoman Jean Bryson told Jones, of Butterton Road, Rhyl – who she described as vulnerable – that his sentencing would be adjourned for a probation report. He is due to be sentenced on Friday.

She said: “We find this a disturbing case involving a vulnerable person who may have been provoked and members of the community who were clearly
concerned about rats.”

Mrs Bryson said the evidence of Miss Atherton was clear and credible, and she had admitted her part in a forceful exchange in which bad language was used.

She said: “We are sure beyond reasonable doubt that Peter Jones spat at Miss Atherton and therefore find Mr Jones guilty.”


But 10 days after he was found guilty, Jones, 50, returned to court as a victim. Tenant Kiri Booth, 28, was found guilty of threatening behaviour with intent to cause him fear of violence.

She agreed that she had threatened to stab him but denied holding a knife with an 11-inch blade against his face as she did so. Booth said the knife had remained beneath her mattress where she kept it for protection.

Sarah Marsh, prosecuting, said the row happened at 2.30am on June 17 when Booth confronted Jones, who was removing rat poison downstairs which had been laid by other residents because of an infestation.

Jones told defence solicitor Alex Fitzgerald it wasn’t true he had provoked and invited a confrontation by picking up the poison. She was holding the knife within five or six inches of his eye and shouting at him, he said.

In a police interview Booth had maintained Jones would remove the poison and sometimes “take rats back up to his flat”.

Booth said in evidence she had demanded of Jones: “Why are you doing this, putting other people’s lives at risk?”

She agreed she had threatened to stab him “to scare him into not picking up the poison or taking rats up. But I did not have a knife with me.”

Kiri Booth, with blonde hair, was found guilty of threatening behaviour towards Peter Jones
(Image: Derek Bellis)

Her partner, Michael Edwards, and a young man who was a lodger both denied that she’d had a knife.

Mr Fitzgerald said there had not been a threat of immediate violence, but referring to the rat problem, said: “There is a very unedifying background in many respects.”

Court chairman David Davies, finding Booth guilty, said : “We are satisfied that you made the threat and with a knife in your hand.”

Booth, who said she had since moved to a flat in John Street, Rhyl, was given a 12-week sentence, suspended for a year, with 200 hours of unpaid work.

She must pay £515 costs – and £150 compensation to Mr Jones.

Article source: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/row-over-rats-block-flats-13449098

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