There’s a reason the District of Columbia is called the District of Calamity: boneheadedness is the rule in the local government for the nation’s capital.
While local D.C. politicians whine incessantly about Washington not having a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives (locals do get to vote in presidential elections), the local government routinely violates the civil rights of its residents. I am referring to D.C.’s ongoing war against private gun ownership in blatant contradiction of the Second Amendment, a despotic, illegitimate policy that gets Washingtonians robbed, raped, and killed on a regular basis.
Which is why when the D.C. government does something right, it deserves to be applauded.
D.C. has “hired” homeless cats as part of its Rat Riddance program in hopes of reducing the murine menace, National Geographic reports.
Feral cats are just one kind of animal that some cities are embracing for their rat-killing prowess. In New York City, a group of rat-hunting terrier, dachshund, and mutt owners patrol the streets. Chicago has even given urban coyotes an uneasy embrace. For the most part, these animals aren’t part of official city programs, but unofficially, most cities are game for whatever kills rats. The question is how much help they can offer.
“My position [on the cats] is if it works, that helps us,” says Gerard Brown, who manages the DC city government’s rat control program. Rat calls to the city hotline are up by a third over the last three years, which Brown attributes to a string of mild winters. “Usually when winters are cold, that acts as a natural exterminator,” he says. In 2016 Mayor Muriel Bowser responded to the growing complaints by declaring a renewed war on rats.
There are two basic ways to kill off a rat population. One is to limit rats’ food supply, which in cities means garbage. Ecologists would call this a bottom-up approach, cutting off the base of the food chain. There’s also the top-down approach: introduce a predator, whether human or feline, to kill the rats.
So finally the District of Columbia is doing something that makes sense. The rats on Capitol Hill will have to be dealt with another way.