Hundreds of rats live inside St. Pete home

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Dec 11, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

A woman hoarding more than 300 pet rats shows us theA St. Pete woman hoarding more than 300 pet rats showsSPCA estimates over 300 rats are inside! These twoA woman hoarding more than 300 pet rats shows us theA woman hoarding more than 300 pet rats shows us theSPCA estimates over 300 rats are inside! These twoWe spotted at least 15 rats while inside the homeThe homeowner speaks with 10 News about the rats living

St. Petersburg, Florida — A woman who started out with four pet rats is now overwhelmed with hundreds of the rodents swarming her St. Pete home!

29-year-old Florine Brown is a nurse and lives at 8th Street South and 10th Avenue South in the historic Roser Parks neighborhood. She did not intend to start breeding the rats.

“At first I had three and then got one more and did know at the time it was a male,” said Brown. “Then he mated with all my girls and they all got pregnant.”

Her grandfather passed away in July of 2013. She only had a few rats before he died but after he passed and left his house to Florine the rats bred and it became impossible for her to control.

“I liked having them even though it was out of hand because I liked doing something positive for them after my dad (grand father) died,” explained Brown. “They helped me move on and deal with the grief of losing him.”

While she had a few caged in her room, up to 500 other rats swarmed the house.

“They are every where, in the couch, the kitchen, my room, the stairs,” said Brown.

She lifted up chewed through couch cushions and turned over rocking chairs and torn up pillows, pointed to giant holes in the walls ans ceilings to show where they lived.

“They are my pets, my friends.”

Her twin sister Flora Brown is disgusted with her sister Florine’s rat hoarding “problem” she called it.

She saw her as a “pack-rat” and ratted her out to the local SPCA.

Jill Purl with the SPCA said their officers have removed 81 rats so far. They took her caged rats that were in her room including 50 adults and 20 younger rats. Then they took another 11 rats caged on Tuesday.

“I just want them to go to good homes,” said Florine Brown. “I tried asking for help catching them because it is hard to catch them because they will chew through their cages, but the pest control people said they only catch them to kill them I am not going to deal with that.”

She said pest control experts who came by her home told her the ammonia smell from the rat urine is so rancid it can be toxic to her health.

“They told me I could die from the toxins, so I know I need to get rid of them but it’s so hard and I need someone to help me catch them all to give them to the SPCA so they can find homes. I do not want to catch them and when I do, they chew right through their cages and I am happy that they do.”

Flora Brown will not even go into her sister’s home again.

“I went in before and it was disgusting,” said Flora Brown. “There are rats everywhere, crawling over your feet, droppings every where, and urine everywhere.”

10 News reporter Danica Lawrence walked through the home and witnessed the revolting, repulsive rodent nests.

Neighbors are deeply concerned for their safety.

“My heath is the biggest issue because rats carry so much disease and plague,” said one neighbor right across the street from Florine Brown. “Maybe two nights ago I saw one run into her house and I thought well he knows where home is. Then I saw the same one the next night.”

“I have not seen any rats, I am shocked she has that many inside there!” said another neighbor. “I am worried about them getting loose in the neighborhood.”

The SPCA plans to maintain the situation there. They are working with the Pinellas County Human Society and the ASPCA.

The agency said there will be no animal cruelty charges against Brown.

A woman who started out with five pet rats is now overwhelmed with hundreds of the rodents swarming her St. Pete home!

Florine Brown describes how a few pet rats become hundreds living inside her St. Pete home.

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