Three glass, aquarium-style containers filled with domesticated rats were dumped into a ravine by Old Yale Road in Abbotsford last week.
While authorities are unclear how many rats were abandoned, the estimate is anywhere between 25 and 50.
“We have no idea how many there are but they are all domestic, friendly rats,” said Jodi Dunlop, shelter manager for the Abbotsford SPCA.
Dunlop said the local SPCA became involved after receiving a call from the Small Animal Rescue Society (SARS) of B.C., located in Burnaby, which had received a tip and came to Abbotsford in an attempt to recover the creatures.
So far, 16 have been rounded up. Eight are being kept at the local SPCA while SARS has the others.
Efforts will continue to locate the remaining animals, which Dunlop says will not survive in the wild.
She added that the rats pose no harm to the public.
“The only harm being done is to the rats because, unfortunately, if they are not all caught they will not survive and it will not be a good demise for them.”
The act of dumping creatures to fend for themselves is not uncommon.
Dunlop said the SPCA currently has 28 domestic rats at the shelter.
While she doesn’t know why the rats were dumped, Dunlop said it could be because someone bought two or three as pets and the situation got out of hand.
“One female can have a dozen babies.”
Rats also breed at a young age so the numbers can accumulate quickly.
The SPCA is investigating the incident.
If you have any information about the incident, call the SPCA at 604-850-1584.