KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The KC Pet Project said Tuesday the 270 animals pulled from one home on Monday are doing well and will be available for adoption soon.
"Today, we're already starting to move a lot of pets into foster homes. We had some volunteers and staff here last night who said, 'Give me some,' and they took some home last night. So all the geckos and some turtles are in foster already and have been since last night," said Tori Fugate, spokesperson for KC Pet Project.
There are still a lot of rats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils and mice left at the shelter.
One man had all the animals in his duplex.
The total count came to:
Rats – 217
Rabbits - 16
Geckos – 2
Guinea Pigs – 2
Turtles/Tortoises – 6
Hamsters – 9
Gerbils – 3
Mice – 3
The city got an anonymous tip and were let inside the home. Despite how dirty the home was, city officers were surprised to see the pets were not in bad shape.
"It was pretty obvious he cared about them. He took great care of them. They have very little problems other than the fact that it was really dirty and very cluttered and just too many of them," said John Baccala, spokesperson for the animal health department.
The man may be allowed to keep some of his pets, however he'll have to follow strict guidelines, clean his duplex, and let the city come back for more inspections.
"We're more concerned with getting this individual some help, because it doesn't do any good to hit him with animal cruelty charges and have this happen again because we don't address the root cause," Baccala said.
According to a city ordinance, people can't have more than 10 rabbits or small animals over the age of four months per home, or more than 25 rabbits or other small animals under the age of four months.
The city does not have an ordinance regulating animals such as turtles and geckos.
It's been round-the-clock work to help all the animals. A veterinarian did physical inspections as the animals were counted. Many were stressed out, but are settling in to their temporary homes.
"In these types of situations, we often see animals in very, very poor health and we are fortunate many are in good health. The rats are grooming each other, everybody's getting a little bit cleaned up and feeling a lot better," Fugate said.
Fugate said the phone has rung nonstop with people asking how they can help.
Starting Wednesday, the shelter will start taking adoption applications.
While many people may be squeamish when it comes to rats, they are actually friendly, social animals that make great pets, Fugate said.
They will adopt the rats out in pairs of the same gender. Fugate said the rats were already separated by gender when they removed them from the duplex, so they aren't sure if any of the rats could be pregnant.
If you are interested in donating, fostering, or adopting any of these animals, call the shelter at 816-683-1383.