Rats are generally not welcome in civilized society. After all, in the wild they carry disease, their presence in urban areas indicates insecure garbage and then there are all those schoolyard epithets — ratfink, ratted him out and the contemptuous rat!
Then again, there’s Michael Jackson’s ode to a pet rat, Ben.
Thirty rats found over the weekend on the grounds of Western Heights Middle School in Hagerstown, Md. belonged in the second category.
Principal Stephen Tarason said someone apparently dumped the rats on the school grounds or in the nearby woods. They are clearly pets; they even come when called.
Tarason says the building manager who found the rats told him they were huddled under a pine tree in an area that is not used as a playground.
The Humane Society of Washington County says they are domesticated animals — and they make wonderful pets. But that doesn’t mean they are welcome in the cafeteria.