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I feel sorry for the animals

It is that time of year when college kids who got pets, can not take them home, and can not leave them in the dorm rooms. Or kids who got what they thought was a great pet, only to be overwhelmed with the care and feeding of another living creature. An animal, which may not have responded the way the student expected the pet to.

I read so many postings on Craig'slist, long postings, some full of sorrow, about the loss of a pet. From people who had never been given the slightest lesson in how to care for the animal in the first place.

I decided to send letter to two posters tonight, not to talk about adopting their animals, but how to help them keep their pets. One poster had a rat, the rat had bit him. Out of fear I think. I will know further once he responds to my letter. The second poster does not believe he is able to properly care for his pet as it looks unhappy. Again, when he responds to my questions I will better understand what he means by 'happy' and if the young owner, is properly caring for his pet.

Others are going home for the semester, and can not take their pets with them. So instead of leaving the pet with a sitter, it get put up for adoption, or abandoned.

The colleges need to do something about the transfer of animals every year. Maybe having a dorm area pet, say a friendly dog, or cat, even a fish tank would help the students make the transitions in the dorms. And, would prevent the twice yearly animals dumping going on over at Craig's list. Other students who were not leaving for the winter break or summer session, could watch the pets of the traveling students.

Or the colleges and universities could completely ban pets on campus, unless the student has a detailed plan in place for bringing a pet into a dorm and an equally detailed one for returning the animal home.


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Sadly, it may be too late to socialize that rat. Rat's require socialization in before their 6mo birthday or their behaviors are next to impossible to alter after this period. I've had to deal with a few rats like this given to me by "friends". Ultimately I placed them in their own separate cage (so as not to attack my personal rats).

The earliest one should take a rat from its mother is ~6weeks. Once home it should be "handled" (played with, in contact with humans) as much as possible. I am also a firm believer in always having at least 2 rats within weeks of age, or separated by at least 1.5years (rats between 6mo and 2years can be *very* hostile towards baby rats).

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I live in a college town in California and the feral cat population here is huge due to the twice a year college pet dumping. My own cat moved into the airstream we have in the yard days after spring semester let out two years ago. I agree that this an issue that needs to be addressed on campuses across the country as it impacts college towns & cities alike.
Let me know of any ideas. It would be great to begin to address the problem in a concrete way.

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