Even Rats Deserve Some Humanity

I live in NYC and, as with most urban areas, rats are a daily part of life, especially in the train stations.  To be honest with you I have never understood how people can keep them as pets.  One word that comes up often in relation to rats is, “disgusting”.  I don’t know that I have ever thought of rats as such, but it doesn’t mean I can appreciate them as pets. Despite these feelings about rats, they are living creatures that are well deserving of humanity – whether that is in life or in death.  I am horrified by what I witnessed yesterday. 
I was on Fordham Rd. in the Bronx.  I was in a business across the street from a car wash.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noted 3 men – clearly employees - run out of the car wash waving a bat and 2 brooms.  They were laughing, so honestly I didn’t realize what they were doing.  I did note that they were hitting something that, at first, I thought was garbage which they had knocked out to the curb.  I was able to get a better look at what it was.  After a particularly hard hit towards the curb, the “garbage” suddenly started running.  That is when I realized it was a rat.  They were trying to kill this rat, I guess because it didn’t belong in their place of business.  When the rat started running, it actually started running AWAY from these three guys and into the street of this main thoroughfare.  One of these guys ran out past the rat and kicked him back onto the sidewalk where the other two joined in again using this poor rat as a hockey puck and kicking the poor rat around.  What was particularly disturbing was that, all the while, these goons were laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves.
I was so disgusted and didn’t know what to do.  The reality is that there probably wasn’t much I could do since this whole incident probably lasted no more than 5 horrifying minutes and after all it was “just a rat”.  I mentioned the incident to someone who said to me that it was probably more humane than the rat running out into traffic to be hit by a car.  This is a heavily trafficked road so I disagreed.  I told this person that, at the very least, the rat had a chance running out into the street – either to dodge the traffic and get away or be run over.  He would likely be dead in one fell swoop – not knocked around for 5 minutes, probably in sheer terror.  No one other than me even noticed what was going on.

Rats As Pets?

I have never given much thought to rats.  This poor rat has been on my mind since yesterday.  I have wondered what might have been the reaction if this were a dog being treated this way.  This begs serious consideration because despite the fact that some of us would never entertain the thought of having a rat as a pet, it doesn’t discount the fact that they make great pets.  They are likened to dogs when it comes to keeping them as pets.  They are tamable, social, friendly animals.  They are easy to care for but NOT low maintenance.  They require regular, extended periods of exercise.  As a dog owner, this is all familiar to me.  We fight for humane euthanizing if a dog has to be put down.  That is no less than this rat deserved.  I am not suggesting that the rat had to be caught and euthanized but there were more humane ways of killing this rat.  Since the rat almost got away, that is the very least he deserved.

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