| || Conditions/Rules |
Whether or not there is a paper-form aggreement signed (which I try to do, especially for first time adopters), everyone who buys a rat from me must agree to and follow these conditions. It is mostly common sense, but all rules exist for a reason.
For Non-Breeding Animals
- The rat must be kept inside a building at a temperature that doesn't drop below 60 or raise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the rat won't be exposed to rain, wet conditions, or other health hazards.
- When not being supervised, the rat must be kept in an enclosure (cage, aquarium, small room, etc) that is secure against any hazards, including but not limited to toxins, other animals (any species other than domestic Rattus norvegicus), sharp/rusty objects, and extreme temperatures.
- The rat will not be exposed to toxic products such as cedar phenols, cigarette smoke, pesticides, or any aerosol or other substance that would put the rat at a health risk.
- The rat must always be kept with another domestic rat (Rattus norvegicus) of the same gender or spayed/neutered. (Exceptions can be made in cases of aggression or temperment issues or if the rat is older and the cagemate dies.)
- The rat will not be caged or left unsupervised with any other species of animal besides humans and domestic Rattus norvegicus.
- Clean water will be available at all times.
- The rat will be given a regular, healthy, and nutritionally complete diet.
- The rat will receive an adequate amount of daily human attention, including handling.
- If the caretaker is away or unable to care for the rat for a short time, he/she must make sure the rat's safe housing and clean food/water is provided for. If gone for more than three days, the adopter/caretaker will take the rat with them or leave them in the care of a trustworthy person.
- The rat will receive medical care if needed. In case of life-threatening situations, adopter agrees to take the animal to a vet and pay a reasonable fee for care or get the rat the needed medical attention by some other means (possibly giving the animal to a new owner who can and will get it medical attention).
- Adopter agrees to inform the breeder about any health or temperament issues that could be hereditary and affect the breeder’s line. Such issues include but are not limited to biting, barbering (pulling out its fur), tumors, stroke, seizures, diabetes, and megacolon.
- The rat will never be left at or sold to a pet store or animal shelter. Nor will it ever be allowed to “fend for itself” or used as food for another animal. If adopter can no longer or no longer wishes to keep the rat, adopter will contact the breeder.
- The rat will never be allowed to interact with (even for a short time) a rat of the opposite gender unless one is spayed/neutered.
- The rat will never be bred for any reason.
For Breeding Animals
If the adopter fails to follow these rules/conditions, they must be willing to surrender the rat to me (without compensation). I also reserve the right to deny future adoption/purchase and to inform other breeders of the incident.
- Adopter will follow rules 1 through 12 stated above.
- The rat will never be allowed to interact with (even for a short time) a rat of the opposite gender unless one is spayed/neutered--except for the purpose of breeding.
- The adopter must specifically request the rat for breeding purposes at or before the time he/she reserves a rat. (This is very important because some lines have specific hereditary issues that need discussed, and some rats are not "breeding quality" even if they are excellent pets.)
- Animals bought with the option of breeding do not have to be bred, and if an issue comes up involving health, temperment, or the ability to rear a litter (for a female), the rat will not be bred.
- Whether male or female, the rat must be at least 4 months old before he/she is bred. I strongly suggest waiting at least 6 to 8 months.
- Females must be allowed at least a month or two to rest after weaning a litter before being bred again. (This also means that the male must be removed before the litter is born to prevent another mating.)
- Females may not be bred more than three times and may not be bred when over 18 months of age.
- The rat must be in good health at the time he/she is bred.
- The rat chosen as a mate must be of good quality (in terms of condition, health, and temperment) and must have at least two generations of known pedigree.
- If there are any problems or questions regarding the pregnancy or birth, the adopter must contact me or a vet and may not attempt any medical procedures (administering drugs, etc.) without a vet's guidance.
- Any offspring must be placed as pet/breeding/show animals in private homes and may not be sold or given to a store, shelter, lab, school, or rescue.
- Offspring may not be used as food for any other animal.
- Adopter agrees not to kill any healthy pup that is born--for any reason. (Despite popular myths, mother rats can care for litters in excess of 20, and large litters grow up just as healthy as small ones.)
- Adopter will inform me of any birth defects, megacolon, or other issues that could have a genetic origin.
The adoption fee is $25 for a same sex pair or $15 for one rat. I place single rats only to homes that have a rat or rats that are neutered or of the same sex that a new baby may live with. All adopters may have a pedigree if they request it. Prices may go up some as I develop my lines. Adults and rescues, when available, usually have lower adoption fees, around $7.
The adoption fees are in place for several reasons, none of them are profit. It costs me between $50 and $80 a month to supply rats with food and litter (add into that costs of vet care, toys, travel, webspace, etc, comes to well over $1000 a year). I am under no delusions of making a profit or even breaking even with the 1 to 4 litters I may have in a year, many kept. (If I have "extra" money, I can save for larger cages, replace old toys, etc., but I don't charge adoption fees for the sake of money...)
The adoption fees are in place mostly to immediately discourage anyone who would lie (and they are out there) to obtain rats as food for other animals. I do this by pricing my rats higher than pet store rats. It is also to emphasize that these are valuable living, breathing, feeling animals, not toys or novelties (it is sad that a monetary amount is needed for someone to see value in an animal, but sometimes that's what it takes). I devote a big part of my life (money, time, emotions) to planning for litters, finding the best animals for my line, even from halfway across the country, raising and handling babies, and keeping them all healthy and happy. It is extremely important for me to find them homes where they will be valued, loved, and cared for as I would do. This means there is a monetary responsibility. It starts with the initial adoption but adopters must be aware that although rats are fairly cheap to care for, they do need you to devote time, love, and money to fill all their needs.
I do not charge different prices for genders, markings, types, etc. nor for "breedable" vs. pet only. I don't feel color, type, or gender affects the value of a rat, and I invest just as much time and money into the less "exotic-looking" rats (in fact, often, they are born into the same litter as more unusual varieties). Breedable rats do not cost more because I don't want the adopter to feel they must breed in order to get their money's worth. Breeding can negatively affect the life of any animal, and it should always be an option to notbreed.
Reserving a Rat
Please contact me if you live in (or can visit) the area and you're interested in a pair of rats from a current or upcoming litter. I much prefer they be placed in same sex pairs or trios. I will let you know when I have pups available (after I decide which rat(s) I plan to keep here). If something comes up and/or you need to cancel, please do so as soon as possible. It can be difficult for me to find another adopter at the last minute. The sad truth is older rats or any other pets are not as easy to place as babies/youths.
Notice: I cannot predict how many rats will be in a litter or what genders they are. People who contact me to "reserve" before babies are two or three weeks old (or even born) will be on a waiting list for them, not actually have a reserve.
Sorry, I won't ship. You'll have to be able to pick up your rat where I live in Halifax/South Boston, Virginia. (Email me to make arrangements and work out schedules.)
If my schedule and circumstances permit, I may be able to meet an adopter halfway to their location (particularly if we meet somewhere just an hour from where I live.)
Another option is arranging with another rat fancier or a neighbor who is passing nearby (national/regional rat shows and pet expos draw a lot of fanciers from different directions and distances).
I care about my babies and where they end up. Please feel free to e-mail me if any concerns arise. Even if nothing is wrong, I'd love to hear how the rats are doing. I will give all adopters info about how to get in touch with me. It is important that you let me know if any rat you get from me develops behavioral or health problems so that I can keep a healthy and good-tempered line. One of the best ways to stay up-to-date with me and to share with others is via my Facebook Page.
When you buy/adopt a rat from me (or if you don't), I will be glad to give advice when I can. I will gladly take the rat back at any time if things are not working out for any reason. I will also offer a refund if the rat(s) are returned within a week of purchase.
My main policies concerning adoption are as follows:
- I NEVER sell feeders. Though many of my litters are "plain," they have been bred and raised specifically for health and personality. This consideration becomes worthless if such an animal's fate is to become another's food. If an animal has special needs, such as being crippled from an accident or something, he will find a loving home that fits this need or remain with me.
- I never sell to pet stores or to anyone else for resale. I must know and approve of all new homes myself. I will never leave it up to another person.
- I will keep any animals that I cannot find suitable homes for elsewhere.
- Rats will always be placed in same sex pairs or to homes where there already is another rat that can be a forever companion (same sex or neutered).
- Anyone wishing to adopt a rat for breeding purposes must clarify this to me. Only rats I deem "breeding quality" will be adopted to anyone wishing to breed. Otherwise, any rat adopted from me is never to be bred, regardless of color, markings, etc. (There is a lot more to "breeding quality" than colors, markings, or even temperment.)
- I will not sell to a breeder who sells to pet stores, sells as feeders, or culls litters. These are against my personal breeding ethics and I will not support these practices in other breeders.
- All adopters are expected to give their rats suitable care and attention. If they cannot keep their rats, they are required to find them a suitable home or return them to me. Rats adopted from me are never to be turned over to a shelter, rescue, or pet store.
- I reserve the right to deny adoption or change plans at any time. This doesn't necessarily mean an adopter is "bad." It could happen that something comes up with a rat or line and I don't feel comforable adopting them out (such as with an injury or a temperament issue that requires special care).
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