The Pied Pipers of Dallas and Louisville

With city fast-food restaurants being overrun with rats last week, Daily Intel heard the other side of the rodent's story from a local enthusiast, Raquel Cintron. Her claim that rats are simply misunderstood was met with cheers from others around the country who keep the animals as pets. Perhaps predictably, their side of things is not often heard in public. After the jump, letters from people decrying the injustice of allowing tenants to have hamsters but not rats. "People just think about the tail," lamented one rat-keeper.

To: Daily Intel

Sent: Friday, March 02, 2007, 12:24 PM

From: Stephanie Ussery, Dallas

Re: Meet the Rat Lady

Thank you, Raquel Cintron!

I live in Dallas, and rats aren’t popular here either! But I have owned pet rats for five years, and I absolutely love them! They are adorable, smart, and so affectionate! I’m so happy that Raquel tries to spread the word about rats. I try to do the same. I get the same reaction when strangers hear that I have rats. It’s so hard to explain and get the point across what wonderful pets they are. People just think about the tail, and that they are known as pests. Wild rats and pet rats are nowhere the same animal. I wish I could get that point across to people so they won’t relate the two.

I have eight rats, five girls and three neutered boys. The boys I recently adopted from the ASPCA. And I’m currently in a dispute with my apartment manager over my owning rats. I have lived here for over a year with my rats, and now they are upset about it. They thought I had hamsters and misunderstood me. So if I owned hamsters, it would be a different story and they would be accepted. I’ve had to send in my vet bills, a letter from my vet, pedigree papers, and adoption papers to prove these aren’t wild rats … they are pet rats. The verdict is still out, and if they say no, I’ll have to find homes for my babies. This has been a very stressful week concerning this. And it was great to read your article, knowing there are others trying to convince people about these wonderful animals.

To: Daily Intel

Sent: Friday, March 02, 2007 12:05:54 PM

From: Sue & the Rattie Crew in Louisville, Ky.

Re: Meet the Rat Lady

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this article. Rats — which are very intelligent, clean, and social critters — have an undeserved bad rap, and it was great to see them portrayed in a positive light!

Thank you for doing the article.

Sue, Emma, Gracie, Miso, Pooka, Felix, Brannie & Rufus the WonderRat with Squidgey & DaisyLou playing at the Bridge