PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Emergency Animal Medical Technicians and the Arizona Humane Society's Field Team have partnered with a local rescue group to trap and rescue domesticated rats roaming a neighborhood in Peoria following the death of their owner.

Rats from hoarder house infest Peoria neighborhood after owner's death

AHS Spokesperson Kelsey Dickerson says as soon as the agency became aware of the rats left without care late Monday, AHS contacted Peoria police to learn more about what happened. The rats are from a hoarder's home, where the 66-year-old owner was recently found dead inside. Peoria police are investigating the death, but said there does not appear to be anything suspicious. Neighbors say they knew there was hoarding going on in the house and that the woman who lived there owned at least one python.

Tuesday morning, AHS and Any Rat Rescue responded to the neighborhood to humanely trap as many of the rats as possible so they could be evaluated and given the best chance for survival. Dickerson says because the rats are domesticated, they are pets and not the type of rat that could make it on its own without human help.

"It's heartbreaking," said Kristin Grasso, a volunteer with Any Rat Rescue. "If you are not wanting to put out poison for a cat or dog in your neighborhood, it's the same thing." 

Dickerson says there are reports that people are not handling the situation humanely and that anyone in the neighborhood who is trapping rats is encouraged to reach out to the Arizona Humane Society or Any Rat Rescue.

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