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Va. AG defends soft-on-rats accusations of D.C. officials

Thursday - 1/19/2012, 7:59pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli responded Thursday to the Wednesday WTOP story on his accusations that D.C. officials are soft on rodents.

In a written statement to WTOP, Cuccinelli outlines the four methods of catching and releasing rodents and other wildlife, according to D.C. law. They include releasing the animal on site, relocating it, releasing it after rehabilitation and killing it.

Here is an excerpt from the attorney general's statement, expressing his concerns with how he says the D.C. law addresses these four methods, and their implications for Virginians:

Released on-site:

The law requires operators to release any rodents not deemed "commensal." Animal control experts and common sense say the animal will just come back. Solves nothing and at most, pushes the problem off on the neighbors.

Relocation:

The question is, "To where?" Since it requires the permission of the landowner, who will give permission for the release of rodents on his private property? Again, see the USDA letter regarding the pitfalls of relocation.

Rehabilitation:

As of September 2011, according to the National Wildlife Control Operators Association, there were no rehabbers within the District.

Euthanasia:

Euthanasia must be done according to AVMA guidelines, which are written for veterinarians to use in clinical settings. AVMA options available to wildlife control professionals are described on page 19 of this document: [link here]. Of the options mentioned, according to the National Wildlife Control Operators Association, only one (inhalant gases - carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide) seems feasible within the District. Since most wildlife control services are located outside the District and since live animals cannot be transported across state lines, operators tell us that this would require them to carry portable gas chambers on their trucks, which most do not have.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)