New effort to combat rats in DC

WASHINGTON — A rat-free D. C.? Well, maybe not quite, but efforts to control the District’s rat population is getting a boost.

The National Park Service announced a partnership with the D.C. Department of Health to combat the rat populations in the District’s national parks, and one of the effects will be making it easier to report burgeoning populations of the rodents.

Starting Saturday, workers from the Department of Health will inspect and treat national parks in the city, and residents can report rats in any national park in the District by calling the city’s 311 call center. The health department will also advise the park service on making parks less rat-friendly.

“The National Park Service is committed to ensuring safe, positive experiences for visitors in all of our parks, and this agreement with the D.C. Department of Health provides us better tools to control the rodent population,” said Robert Vogel, director of the National Capital Region for the National Park Service, in a statement.

“By simplifying the reporting process and decreasing the response time for treatment of affected areas, we are working together toward a rat-free D.C.”

Health department director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said, “This adds to our citywide ‘Rat Riddance’ efforts that work to minimize the city’s overall rat population.”

The health department also reiterates its tips for residents to help out with rat control:

  • Placing all trash and food waste in trash cans
  • Reporting sightings of rats or possible rat burrows to 311
  • Cleaning up after pets and making sure waste is disposed of in a trash can
  • Keeping your dog on a leash

The Dupont Circle area has proved a particular trouble spot. Rats have become such a problem in the area that, as Washingtonian magazine reports, someone has created a listing for the Dupont Circle Rat Sanctuary on Yelp.

Reviews average four stars.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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