They are respectable pets by day — upstanding AKC members, dog show winners, a therapy dog and even an actor among them.
At night, though, about once a week, they hit the grimy streets and trash-filled alleys of New York — terriers and dachshunds, along with their owners — tracking, cornering, capturing and killing rats.
You can call them superheroes, you can call them vigilantes, you can call them (as PETA has) participants in a “twisted blood sport.”
For its part, the The Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society, or RATS, describes itself as a group of New York dog owners who are simply letting their dogs pursue what has been bred into them.
“Terriers have an innate sense to do this, it’s in their genes,” said Richard Reynolds, who founded the group. It has been around more than 25 years, and has its own Facebook page.
The group goes out as often as possible, sometimes invited to problem areas by citizens, sometimes responding to informal requests from city officials, The New York Post reported last week. The service is provided for free.
As the dog owners see it, they are giving their dogs a chance to fulfill what they were born to do.
“They think hunting is just fabulous,” Dr. Trudy Kawami, who started taking her wire-haired dachshunds to Prospect Park 30 years ago to sniff out rodents with the group, told
Usually, about eight dogs take part in the hunt. The dachshunds tend to go into closed areas and flush rats out of garbage bags, while the larger terriers seem more interested in the actual attack.
Reynolds told The Post that half the dogs are show champions, one is a therapy dog and another has a role in the film “Five Flights Up,” alongside Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman.
There is always a veterinary technician present, since rat bites are common.
“It’s all about keeping happy, healthy working dogs, and as long as we do that, everything is fine,” Reynolds said.
(Photos: RATS Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 27th, 2017 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alleys, animals, behavior, bites, bloodsport, breeds, city, dachshunds, dog, dogs, dogs hunting rats, instinct, kill, killing, new york city, pests, pets, rat, rat hunting, rat hunting dogs, richard reynolds, rodents, Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society, streets, terriers, track, trash, urban, vermin
One dog came to the aid of another last week, leading rescuers to a drainage pipe where a 15-year-old miniature schnauzer named Casper had been stuck for up to three days.
The hero? A rat terrier named Rowdy, who belongs to a neighbor.
“He caught the scent and he just started barking, barking, barking,” said Rowdy’s owner, Patty Monk, whose dog led her to the 8-inch wide storm drain pipe in which Casper was stuck.
Seeing Casper inside, Monk, who is friends with Casper’s owners, ran a block to their home and notified them. They sought help from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department.
Firefighters, not wanting to injure the dog, wrapped a teddy bear around the end of a fire hose to push him out the end of the pipe.
Casper’s owners, who had searched for days and put up posters after Casper went missing, took him to a nearby animal hospital to have him checked out.
“We have one of these storm drains right in front of our house. He may have fallen in that one and crawled all the way here, we don’t know,” said Wayne Hernandez.
“We’ve been kind of taking him for granted, he’s been around for so long,” Hernandez told News 10 in Sacramento. “But we’re going to have to try and pamper him a little more. He deserves it after this.”
Posted by John Woestendiek January 22nd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, casper, department, dog, dogs, drainage, drainpipe, fire, firefighters, metro, miniature, patty monk, pets, pipe, rat, rescue, rescued, rowdy, sacramento, saved, schnauzer, stuck, terrier, wayne hernandez
A Pennsylvania woman, unable to cope with financial hardships, tried to kill her 29 cats, her dog and herself, authorities in Montgomery County, Pa., say.
The woman, Linda Muchnick, of Harleysville, was arrested on charges of cruelty to animals.
District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, Lower Salford Township Police Chief Thomas A. Medwid and Towamencin Township Police Chief Paul T. Dickerson announced the charges yesterday. They stem from an incident last week when police were called by a local veterinary clinic.
The clinic had “received information” that Muchnick intended to kill herself and her animals due to financial hardships, the district attorney’s office said in a press release.
Towamencin Township Police entered Muchnick’s home and found 29 cats in a locked bedroom with no open windows. Officers found D-Con rat poison had been placed in the food bowls of the cats.
Muchnick was found, unresponsive, in a separate, locked bedroom with a sick pit bull. More rat poison was found in the room, authorities said. Muchnick was treated at a local hospital.
One cat died as a result of ingesting rat poison.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 25th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, arrest, cats, dog, economy, financial, hardship, harleysville, linda muchnick, montgomery county, pennsylvania, poison, poisoning, rat, suicide attempt
Meet Gregory Pike — currently homeless in Santa Barbara, California — and his dog, cat and rat.
Most days, Pike can be found on State Street there, along with his dog Booger, his cat Kitty, riding atop the dog, and his rat Mousey, riding atop the cat.
The Mayor of Santa Barbara reportedly found it so heartwarming a scene that she had it videotaped and sent it out as a holiday card. We find it to be right up there with the elephant and dog story out of Tennessee.
We also find it more than a little ironic that, if you go to the comments section beneath the dog-cat-rat-getting-along video on YouTube, you can find dozens of petty, mean-spirited, bickering comments from humans who seemingly can’t.
The best factual account of Pike and his animals we could find was in The Bottom Line, a bi-weekly newspaper sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Pike, originally from Telluride, Colo., says he has been studying animal habitats and psychology for about 30 years, has worked with animal rescues and rehabilitation centers for mountain animals, and has a diverse background in animal training.
Pike says the act started ten years ago “when someone said it couldn’t be done.”
“I understand animals and why they do things. I understand some of the barks, and the meows, and what the different ways they do it mean. I’m not a Doctor Doolittle, but I know what they’re asking for.”
Pike told The Bottom Line that he has some insights into what makes people tick as well, and with his act hopes to be able to catch the attention of people to pass on his messages of peace and humanity to the human species. “Peace can happen anywhere — if they can do it why can’t people?” he said.
Pike reportedly hopes to someday open a free pet adoption and rescue center, which is why he keeps a can out for money.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 31st, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, booger, california, cat, dog, dog cat rat, gregory pike, homeless, humans, kitty, mayor, mousey, peace, pets, rat, santa barbara, understanding, video