There are always loads of rats at my local animal shelter, a lot of the time they have babies too. I'm sure there must be a rat rehoming charity too, there are lots for other types of pets.
If they are volunteers or breeding for a hobby then they might not have loads of free time. I'm a charity volunteer (nothing to do with animals) and if I'm away on holiday or ill there's no-one to cover for me so any messages just have to wait until I can deal with them.
Have you tried the RSPCA? Surprising the types of animals they have up for adoption. Depends on the local branch whether they will be anymore helpful though. Otherwise I would be prepared to travel and go to the breeder who does want your custom.
Thinking about getting Fancy Rats as pets. Did some reading, and all over all the 'advice' pages of all the big associations are warnings and pleadings NOT to buy them from Pet shops, as they support the Rodent Farm trade.
It's all 'Please contact a registered breeder - here's a list'.
I agree with what they're saying, I do, and I did. In fact I contacted both the registered breeders who are anywhere near me.
Three weeks later - zilch.
I'm not expecting them to have a litter ready and waiting. I wasn't expecting an overnight response. I'm fully prepared and expecting to have to fill in questionnaires, go and meet them, be vetted, answer any queries they may have. I want that - I take pet ownership seriously, I want pets that have come for reliable sources and been looked after properly, not just seen as a cash source.
But I don't think they're helping their own cause when, three weeks after I made contact (and I know at least one of them has got the message because I can see it on her Facebook page - her contact method of choice) I haven't had even so much as 'I got your query and I'm dealing with it. I'm just busy, sorry' back.
She's fairly well known, the lady with the Facebook page, it seems, and has been on her page since I messaged her - there have been other posts, ironically her desperately seeking homes for some rescue rats.
I know people have lives, and other things happening, but if you're going to lecture potential pet owners about the 'dangers' of buying from Pet shops, then surely that means realizing that you'l get more contacts - that, in fact, more contacts means people are listening.
Or is it all just nonsense, because if I can't get the 'responsible, registered' breeders to even acknowledge I exist, I'm not left with the option of buying from them, and whilst I may not go back to a pet shop, there'll be many others that will, and would have already!