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Rescue Fund guidelines

The NERS Rescue Fund exists to support the work of rat rescue around the UK, with an emphasis on helping individuals who rescue and foster rats. The following guidelines will clarify which groups of rats are eligible for help from the fund.

It is an extremely successful rolling fund that has yet to experience strain in terms of demand. With this in mind we would like to encourage people to make use of it as fully as possible.

The Rescue Fund can be used to:

- support the purchase of specific equipment that is designated to be used for rescue in an ongoing way. This will generally be for rescue institutions, but would also be considered for individuals on a case by case basis.

- support the purchase of large volumes of food or bedding for individuals who take on a large rescue and house them all for a quarantine period, or in the longer term.

- cover all or partial veterinary costs for rescue rats in the following situations:

  • Rats in rescue organisations where there is specific financial need. It is expected that all rescue organisations do their own fundraising, and cover costs on a day-to-day basis but we acknowledge that there may be times of particular need (such as large intakes of needy rats) when extra funding is needed.
  • Rats under the umbrella of rescue organisations who are being fostered by individuals.
  • Rats who have been rescued or are being fostered by individuals who intend to rehome them.
  • Rats who are moving from rescue to their new home and require surgery within the first few weeks of homing (for example a rat who is homed with a tumour, or a buck who needs castrated to settle in with his new friends).

Exclusions include: rescue rats who have been in their new homes for some time, unless the new home is effectively a rescue establishment; rats who were purposefully bred by a private breeder(1); rats moving from one happy and settled home to another (rehomes)(2).

All applications are considered on a case by case basis by the NERS committee. If you remain unsure about your application after reading these guidelines it is definitely worth applying, and your case will be considered.

(1) This exclusion may be lifted where a breeder has been made fully aware of the situation and has refused to take their rats back or rehome them, i.e. the rat effectively ends up in rescue.
(2) This does not include solitary bucks who are moving home because they are unable to integrate with an established group and need castrated.

All financial accounts for the fund are maintained by the treasurer of the NERS and are reported bi-monthly in Rattitude (the society magazine), and annually at the AGM and in the Annual Report. The stories of the rats who are helped by the fund are included regularly in Rattitude and some are featured on our website.

What is a rescue rat?

A rescue rat is a rat who needs intervention in order to find a permanent home, not moving from or currently residing in a stable safe home.

Please note that the following categories of rats will not be funded:

  • Rats which have been purposely bred by their owner.
  • Rats moving from one safe stable home into another, these are classed as rehomes.
  • Rats of any age which are for sale (though a donation may be made towards rat rescue).
  • Rats which have been bought in order to be rehomed - whether from pet shops, auctions, adtrader or private sale. These are not considered rescues and may not be advertised on the forum, regardless of the conditions in which they were kept.*

*Paying money for these animals only supports those who breed and trade them, and cannot be condoned. Where such rats are obtained for free, i.e. no money has changed hands, they may be considered rescues.

The following categories of rats are not generally funded by the Rescue Fund, but will be considered on a case by case basis:

  • Kittens that are the result of an accidental mating.
  • Kittens that result from mis-sexing by pet shops or the unknowing purchase of pregnant does from a pet shop.
  • Unwanted breeding animals of any age, unless the breeder has ceased breeding.

For these groups of rats we would encourage members to complete a funding application which will then be reviewed by the committee.

Example cases

a) An owner takes in a rescue off a free ad site, the rat moves in, after a few weeks it is clear that the rat is not settling with his group and would benefit from neutering. Not eligible – this rat is in a stable home and as such should be funded by its current owner.

b) A fosterer takes in a rescue rat with the intention of rehoming it, whilst in foster care it becomes clear that the rat needs medical treatment, the fosterer treats the rat, at some point after treatment the rat may end up staying with its foster home. Eligible – this rat is not yet in its stable home and was not intended to be a permanent resident.

c) A rescue takes in a rat in need, they decide that this rat is going to stay with them permanently. The rat goes on to need medical care. Not eligible – this rat may be in a rescue but it has a permanent stable home.

If you are unsure whether you would be eligible for funding, please ask. Even if we can’t provide funding, we can always provide advice and information.

Who can apply for funding?

  • Individuals and fosterers doing ad hoc rescues
  • Rescues who regularly rescue rats – where the situation falls well outside normal business*
  • Rescues who have previously little to no rat rescue experience

*Note; it is expected that rat rescues will be able to fund their own day-to-day business.

Expectations from the applicant

The Rescue Fund will only support responsible applications. This is important as NERS aims to promote good standards of rat care. As such, at minimum rats should be:

  • properly quarantined
  • sexes kept separate from each other unless one or more sex is neutered
  • rats given appropriate veterinary care
  • fosterer or rescue not to take on more than they can handle without rescue fund assistance.

What can be funded?

The fund will endeavour to pay as much as is possible or appropriate for the situation. It is expected that the individual will initially fund what is required and claim back from the NERS Rescue Fund which will be paid back retrospectively.

What can typically be claimed for?

  • Medical intervention required for a specific rat (including health care, neutering and contraception if appropriate)
  • Contribution to care costs for rescue situations in excess of reasonable expectations of that individual / rescue to fund them.
  • Any other unforeseen expense that helps move rescue rats to stable and safe permanent home.

What should not normally be claimed for?

  • Regular expenses for daily care (e.g. normal costs of running a rescue or looking after rats)

How do I apply?

Please fill out and submit this application form. If you have any questions, please contact our Rescue Fund administrator.

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