Never ever release domestic rodents in the wild. They don't have the same survival skills of wild rodents so they will NOT survive!! They will die of hunger, dehydration, and exposure!
If you must release your pet rats, mice, hamsters, or gerbils to Tiny Toes Rat Rescue then please contact us via email at . If it is an emergency please put the words "Emergency Release" on the subject line. We check our email frequently. At this time we can't take guinea pigs so please make every effort to rehome them with a good family because shelters really don't try to keep bonded rodents together. When rodents lose their companions they sometimes don't live much longer.
Before you release your animal(s) to us we need to receive a Release Form from you. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we are required by law to have a record on every animal we take in. Because many people forget to bring the form with them at the time of release and then don't want to complete one in our presence or break their promise to send one to us later, we must have the form in our hands before your animals are in our hands. If you click on the green paper clip above, the Release Form will open. If you have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer the form will open in Adobe Acrobat. If it doesn't, you can do an easy safe free rapid download of Adobe Acrobat at this link. Once Adobe Acrobat is downloaded on your computer, click on the green paper clip again. The Release Form will open in Adobe Acrobat and you can complete it there on your computer. After you complete the form save it to your computer as a PDF file in a location where you can easily find it. Send us an email at with the Release Form attached. Thank you.
Once you are certain that you will release your pets to us it is very important that you notify us right away because there are things that we must do to prepare for your pets and one single day may make a difference. You see, when we receive new rodents they are automatically placed in our on-site quarantine building for a 3-4 week period of quarantine so that they can be monitored for respiratory infection. If our quarantine building is occupied by other rodents undergoing quarantine at that time then your animals will go into a one month period of foster care with our foster family. Upon completion of quarantine your animals will be transferred to us.
Why is quarantine necessary? Quarantine is vitally important to the health of all rodents at Tiny Toes Rat Rescue because the number one cause of death in rats and mice is respiratory infection. Since respiratory infections are airborne, they are highly contagious and can be fatal if they are not quickly identified and treated with specific antibiotics. If your rodents present symptoms of respiratory infection then they will be treated with antibiotics. Depending on the severity of their infection, the period of quarantine may exceed 4 weeks so that we can ensure they are well and no longer contagious before entering the rescue. If we did not isolate sick rats and mice in our quarantine building and just brought them into the rescue then every rat and mouse in the rescue could become sick and die.
In addition to monitoring new rodents for respiratory infection, they are treated with an antiparasitic medication to kill any external parasites that they may be carrying. Parasites spread very fast and are easily transferred to other animals if they go untreated, so automatically treating the rodents with an antiparasitic is very important. If we do not quarantine new animals then they will absolutely transfer respiratory infections and parasites to the healthy animals at the rescue. Our best chance of preventing this from happening is to quarantine all new animals.
During the quarantine period we monitor new animals daily for respiratory infection and we treat them for parasites (initially and once a week for the next 3 weeks) whether they appear to have them or not. If animals produce symptoms of respiratory infection then we begin treatment with one or more antibiotics depending on the type and severity of the infection. Our quarantine building is very comfortable for the animals. It's fully insulated, climate controlled, and we keep a lamp on during the night and a radio playing soft music 24 hours a day to help keep the animals company.
Now, if we currently have animals in the midst of a quarantine cycle when you contact us then you will have to wait for the end of the cycle before we can accept your animals. In other words, if we have animals on quarantine day 14 of 28 and they have been healthy thus far, then you will have to wait about 14 more days before we can accept your animals. And, if the animals in quarantine are very sick we will not be able to accept any more animals until the quarantine animals are well enough to be integrated into the rescue. If we were to accept your animals during the cycle then your sick animals could get healthy animals sick or sick animals in the quaratine building could get your healthy animals sick. We do not believe in jeopardizing the health of any animals. So, if you plan to release animals to us contact us right away because we may be starting quarantine for someone else's animals the same day you are considering releasing your rodents to us. We may be able to get your animals into quarantine on the same day. Otherwise, we have to add you to a waiting list. Thank you. This process is necessary for the protection of your animals. We know this information is a lot to absorb. The bottom line is that we really do the best we can to protect the animals so there must be a process in order to do so.
Rats being released to us must come in a clean rat cage with a blanket or towel (no bedding material or toxic wood chips). Gerbils, hamsters, and mice must come in a clean large size glass tank with bedding material (no toxic wood chips) and a screened cover taped on so they can't get out. We also need their water bottle, water bottle holder, food bowl, left over bedding material if you are releasing gerbils, hamsters, or mice, wheel if they have one, and all leftover fresh food. Why is this necessary? Because if you don't provide these items then we have to go out and buy them and that is not affordable for us.
A donation of at least $20.00 per animal is also required to help cover veterinary care expenses which is not at all cheap. We depend on these fees to support YOUR pets. Rodents require fresh fruits and vegetables daily to be healthy and that isn't cheap either. Effective January 1, 2018, we have a new policy regarding payment of the $20.00 per animal fee. Because we have received bad checks from people, because people forget to bring the fees with them at the time they are releasing animals to us, and because so many people break promises to send us the fees later we no longer accept the release of animals until we receive advance payment from you via PayPal to . If you don't have a PayPal account just let us know so we can send a PayPal invoice to you via email that you can pay with your credit card. Please add a bit more to cover the PayPal fee. And, we no longer accept checks for reasons previously stated. Most people are honest and responsible so it is unfortunate that the dishonest people we've encountered have ruined what used to be a far simpler process. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.