On the list of problems America faces, rats might not seem up there with the worst, but that hasn’t stopped the people of New York from rising up to take action.
I fall into that weird category that gets a kick out of seeing a rat every now and again, which might be to do with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and my immense respect for Master Splinter, but I’m not living with the consequences of an infestation.
Many who call the Big Apple home are, and VICE decided to tag along with those taking matters into their own hands.
The write-up is suitably dramatic, with a side helping of over the top:
Rats aren’t only a part of New York City’s underground — they’re an inseparable part of its pop culture. There’s Master Splinter from the Ninja Turtles, Pizza Rat, and even Cannibal Rat. But for every celebrity rat, there’s another 250,000 to 2 million anonymous rodents living in the city — and the city health department is fighting to bring down.
The battle can be deadly. Last year, three people in a Bronx city block contracted leptospirosis through rat urine. Only two survived. To combat the problem, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a $32 million initiative to rid New York of its signature rodents, concentrating on hyper-infested areas that the city describes as “rat reservoirs.”
Multiple city agencies are currently focusing their efforts around public housing buildings…but if all else fails, a small group of dedicated rat hunters are ready to step in.
When dusk settles, Richard Reynolds and his vigilante rat hunters known as “The Ryders Alley Trencher-Fed Society” — or R.A.T.S for short — roam lower Manhattan’s streets and dumpsters, keeping their dogs’ instincts sharp and the hunting tradition alive. In the three decades Richard has been hunting rats with his dogs, he says he must have killed thousands of rats. But he doesn’t really keep track.
A hunter through and through, he only counts the ones that get away.
Cool, here’s the video:
Want a surefire fight? Tell someone who keeps a rat as a pet that they’re filthy beasts.
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