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Relocating D.C. rats

Posted by Richard on January 16, 2012

In the District of Columbia, pest control companies can no longer kill (unless “no other options are feasible,” whatever that means) various vertebrate pests, including squirrels, skunks, raccoons, and some species of rats and mice. Instead, they must trap the critters alive, preferably in “family units,” and relocate them.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has no compunction about breaking up Mexican “family units,” but rat “family units” in D.C. need to be kept intact. PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk declarated that “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” But it’s long been clear from their actions and pronouncements that the animal rights crowd thinks rats and other non-domesticated creatures deserve more consideration than pigs or dogs, and far more than boys.

The District of Columbia’s Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 (PDF) took effect last year, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli thinks it’s just ridiculous:

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says he is worried that a new District of Columbia law that governs how pest control operators must handle rats may result in entire rodent “families” being relocated across the Potomac River into Virginia by D.C. pest control personnel.

Lately, there have been reports of growing rat infestations around the Occupy DC protests at Freedom Plaza and McPherson Square.

While the law exempts “commensal rodents”–varieties of which most people know (or have seen) as common rats or house mice–the rice rat and deer mouse, which are found in the District, are not defined as commensal and apparently are not exempt from the law. In addition, the new law expands the definition of wildlife and sets the rules for handling it to include raccoons, squirrels, skunks, and other animals that can carry disease, such as rabies. The law applies to trained animal control officers, not to homeowners.

Personally, I’m all in favor of relocating a bunch of rodent pests out of the District of Columbia, and I’m hoping this November’s election will do just that.

HT: The Westerner, who noted, “First they disarmed the citizen.  Now they disarm pest control.  I predict a thriving black market for rat killin’ in the D.C. area.”

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