A dog named Paco, owned by Bill Reyna of Wayne, N.J., looks over a dead rat in a lower Manhattan alley in New York Friday, April 26, 2013, where a group of dog owners gather occasionally to let their various breeds hunt rats (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
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NEW YORK—Consider it a scrappy, streetwise cousin of mannerly countryside fox hunts. A loosely knit band of dogs and their owners periodically goes rat-hunting in gritty Manhattan alleys.
The terrain is far from the European farms and fields where many of the dogs’ ancestors were bred to scramble after vermin and foxes. But their masters say it’s just as viable an exercise for the dogs’ skills.
On a recent outing, seven dogs caught about 13 rats after bounding over trash piles and poking into crevices.
City officials have tried various tactics to rout rats, but the terrier forays are an unofficial undertaking. The Health Department declined to comment on them.