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DC Leaders Attempt To Take On City’s Rat Infestation

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Officials addressed a growing concern over rat infestation in Washington, D.C., after reports Dupont Circle is teeming with rodents.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s non-voting delegate in Congress, convened a public meeting with the National Parks Service (NPS) to discuss concerns over rats among other issues Tuesday night. The NPS oversees properties in every Ward of the District but do not work in concert with the city government for pest control in the parks, reports WJLA.

One concerned resident said rats associated with the parks are causing an infestation in Dupont Circle, a popular nightlife area in the District.

“A lot of the recent press was with humor, we got a good laugh out of it, but it’s actually a really serious problem,” resident Cathy Brooker said at the meeting, according to WJLA. “It’s absolutely impossible to walk to Dupont Circle at any time of the day and not see a rat.”

The NPS said a new agreement reached with city officials in October will allow District pest control workers onto NPS property to control the population. The NPS will also reimburse the city for any pest control conducted in the parks.

Exterminators ranked Washington, D.C., the third most rat-infested city in America, trailing behind Chicago and New York. Orkin, the popular pest extermination company, releases an annual list chronicling the cities where rats thrive. Orkin bases their annual rankings on internal data on calls to treat rodent infestations and releases them in October, when rodents start to seek shelter from colder temperatures.

Orkin has ranked D.C. in their third spot for several years, sometimes actually beating out New York City. Rounding out the top five were Los Angeles and San Francisco. Orkin warns that infestations should be taken seriously due to the many pathogens rats spread. They are known to carry neurological and respiratory diseases and can spread ticks and mites.

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