Amid Pandemic, NYC Faces a New Plague – Rat Sightings Skyrocket - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Amid Pandemic, NYC Faces a New Plague – Rat Sightings Skyrocket

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By: Jared Evan

COVID cases may be on the decline in NYC, but a new plague has intensified in NYC, those pesky and quick to adapt rodents, rats!

NYT reported on the drastic increase in rat sightings:

There had been more than 21,000 rat sightings reported to 311 this year, compared with 15,000 in the same period in 2019 (and about 12,000 in 2014). The rate of initial health inspections to uncover “active rats signs” nearly doubled in the latest fiscal year, according to the Times.

The Times also noted, rats spread a disease, which can cause serious liver and kidney damage, known as leptospirosis and, in the city this typically spreads via rat urine, according to health officials. One case was fatal.

This is a frightening prospect considering the intelligent rodents, are not afraid of humans, and will explore just about any place where humans might eat, including outdoor dining huts.

The Times spoke to a customer at an outdoor dining spot, and she told a tale of terror, (especially if you are musophobic) where out of the corner of her eye, she saw a rat on her dining table.

Ed Shanahan writes in the NY Times:

Brittany Brown and her friends were finishing an outdoor dinner in Chelsea recently when, from the corner of her eye, she thought she saw something move near the edge of their table.

Moments later, she thought she saw it again.

Then she made eye contact with a man sitting nearby, and he confirmed what worried her: A rat had been on the table. If that weren’t icky enough, one skittered through the restaurant shed as she left.

According to animal experts and exterminators, the pandemic created a perfect storm for a rat invasion.

When restaurants closed, rats had to scavenge outside more. They found gutters and street-corner baskets clogged with trash because of cuts to the Sanitation Department budget last year. Illegal dumping increased. With most people stuck at home, so did residential waste, The Times reported.

Once city officials created an outdoor dining plan, the rats gravitated to the quickly created outdoor dining sheds and huts.

While outdoor dining sheds saved many restaurants from going out of business after NYC politicians enforced draconian COVID lockdown rules, ending indoor dining for over a year, the outdoor dining sheds compiled the rat situation and now residents are suing over the rodent infestation.

The NY Times pointed out: in a lawsuit filed last month in a bid to block the permanent expansion of outdoor dining, a group of city residents cited the structures’ rat appeal among their objections.

One plaintiff, Marcell Rocha, who lives on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, said he often walks in the street to avoid rodents.

One solution which other cities have used is releasing feral cats into heavily infested areas. Cats are natural enemies to the rats and excellent hunters.

Mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa had a plan to end the extermination of cats at city animal shelters, unfortunately he lost the election and the plan to save cats will most likely not occur.

“Maybe incoming Mayor Adams, will take a tip from Sliwa, and stop killing al those cats at the shelters and spay and neuter those cats and release them upon those vile rats”, a Bronx resident told TJV writer Jared Evan.

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