NEW YORK—At least two New York officials are fed up with New York City’s rat situation—especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy—with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn saying that there will be “increased resources” to deal with the pests.
After Sandy left a wake of destruction in New York’s waterfront neighborhoods, “scores of rats” have shown up and taken residence, reported Councilmember Jessica Lappin’s office Wednesday.
“We’ve heard alarming reports about rat outbreaks in Sandy-affected areas,” Lappin said in a statement. “This is a serious public health threat and the city should put more resources into ending the rat race.”
During an unrelated press conference Wednesday, Quinn said that the new swarm of rats needs to go.
“We want to make it very clear to rats that they are not welcome. We are very open to all kinds of folks coming to New York City. We love immigrants, we love new New Yorkers, but we do not love rats,” Quinn said.
“So if rats are listening, you should pack your little furry bags and leave because we will be coming for you with increased resources very soon,” she added.
Quinn called on the city to implement a decisive response to counter the post-Sandy rat problem.
An analysis of phone calls from Brooklyn and Manhattan that were received by the city’s 311 hotline showed an increase in rodent complaints after Sandy touched down in late October. The worst-hit areas appear to be in Lower Manhattan, the Lower East Side, Greenpoint, Coney Island, Carroll Gardens, and Red Hook.
Lappin is calling on the city to deploy more pest control workers for six months to deal with the rats at no cost to local property owners. At present, property owners must pay the city for inspections and issues violations.
Lappin told The New York Times Tuesday that she estimated the program would cost $500,000.
The increase in rats could also be attributed to the city’s Health Department eliminating 57 pest control positions.
Timothy Wong, technical director with the pest control company M&M Environmental, said that cold weather and construction sites have been forcing rats indoors.
“There’s so much debris and garbage,” he told the Times, “and rats are having a field day.”
Additional reporting by Kristen Meriwether.
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