OK — not tragedy. Deflation. With extreme prejudice.
The Berkeley Daily Planet has the story (purple prose no extra charge):
“A surreptitious stalker slashed the robust rodent outside Berkeley Honda at high noon Thursday, briefly deflating the colorful symbol of striking union members.
“…Teamster Jim O’Hara, who has been walking the picket line, said he had momentarily left the rat moments after noon Thursday to talk to colleague Dave Allen, who was picketing near the dealerships shop entrance.
“The two soon observed with alarm that the $3,000 rat had started to keel over.
“…On lifting up the sadly supine rodent, they discovered three long knife slashes in the critter’s belly, and O’Hara grabbed his camera to document the incident as his colleague called police.”
The story reports the rat — the $3,000 rat — was given first aid and reinflated.
(Honda strikers’ rat, in happier times.)