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Lollypop Farm needs homes for over 1,000 pet rats and mice

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Jenna Repich of Fairport celebrates her pet rat's first birthday. Jenna is a "rat ambassador" for Lollypop Farm who promotes the idea of rats as pets.

The Humane Society of Greater Rochester has a population explosion.

Back in March, Lollypop Farm took in 700 pet mice and rats following a humane investigation. And, as rodents will do, they multiplied.

There are now more than 1,000. And they all need new homes.

Of course, not everyone is sold on the idea of a pet rat.

"They say, 'Ew, rats are disgusting' and stuff, but they're really not," said 10-year old Jenna Repich of Fairport.

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A pet mouse enjoys a Cheerio.

Jenna is what Lollypop calls a "rat ambassador." It's her job to educate people about what great pets rats can be.

She knows because she has two rats of her own.

"They're like little dogs," she said. "They're very smart and intelligent."

And unlike a dog, they're pretty low maintenance. Mike Demar, a small animal care attendant at Lollypop Farm, said they're a good choice for families looking for a first pet for their children.

"They do require a little bit less care daily than, say, a dog because you don't have to walk a rat around," he said. "They do that all on their own."

Mice are usually more independent, Demar said. They just like to explore and run around in an exercise wheel.

An "It's a Small World After All" adoption event is scheduled at the main Lollypop Farm shelter, 99 Victor Road in Perinton from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 26.

Rat ambassadors like Jenna will be on hand, and there will be demonstrations on how to care for the small pets.

The first 100 mice adopters will get a free 10-gallon tank and other supplies.

Adoption fees are $5 per mouse and $10 for a rat, but there might be some two-for-one deals if there's a bonded pair.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.
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