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City Prepares To Launch New War On Rats

Neighbors last summer said rats had taken over at John Vincent Daniels Jr. Square in Woodside, Queens. (Credit: CBS 2)

Neighbors last summer said rats had taken over at John Vincent Daniels Jr. Square in Woodside, Queens. (Credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The city was gearing up this weekend for its latest war against rats.

Beginning next month, an army of inspectors will descend on the most rat-infested neighborhoods. They will target o-called “rat reservoirs,” which are areas where rodent populations survive and thrive, such as subways, sewers and city parks.

The effort is part of the city’s latest effort to attack a rat population that some experts estimate could be double that of the city’s 8.4 million human residents.

One City Council member last month described the rat problem in the Upper West Side’s Manhattan Valley neighborhood in particular as “an epidemic.”

“When I walked out the other morning and there were like six rats running around,” one Manhattan Valley resident said. “I thought, ‘You ever get use to this?’ But you don’t.”

Some residents claim the rats are sometimes the size of small dogs or cats.

One woman last month said rats have infested her building on 154th Street, where one rodent bit a neighbor’s daughter.

“They’re taking over, it’s madness,” she said.

A sanitation worker last month said he has to shake and kick bags of garbage to scatter the rats for fear they’ll jump up and bite him.

The city will hire new inspectors and spend $611,000 for rat indexing to track and reduce the rat population, WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported last month. Inspectors will work with neighborhood associations, community boards, elected officials and building owners to plug up rat holes and put poison in rodent tunnels.

Professional exterminator Joel Grassi says the goal is to target the rats’ food supply.

But, he said, “As long as there are human beings in New York City, there will be rats.”

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