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January 17, 2012

Oh My God: New DC Law Requires Rats To Be Captured Alive And Relocated To Natural Ecosystem, Such as Neighboring Virginia
Update: Some Rats Can Be Killed, But Not All

Update: Although Cuccinelli makes an argument to support his claim, the more I think about it, the more I have to categorize this story as Mostly Bullshit. Like 99.9%.

It is likely that wild rats and wild mice cannot be killed under the law, but those aren't really the varieties people worry about. If the wild rats and mice move into houses, presumably they'd become "commensable" rodents too, and then could be killed.

Sorry, I bit on this one. I wanted to believe.

...

Can it get more absurd?

You'd have to really work at it.

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

...

Cuccinelli said D.C.'s new rat law--the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 (Wildlife Protection Act of 2010.pdf) --is “crazier than fiction” because it requires that rats and other vermin not be killed but captured, preferably in families; no glue or snap traps can be utilized; the rodents must be relocated from where they are captured; and some of these animals may need to be transferred to a “wildlife rehabilitator” as part of their relocation process.

The law does not allow pest control professionals “to kill the dang rats,” Cuccinelli told CNSNews.com. “They have to capture them--then capture them in families. [Not sure] how you’re going to figure that out with rats. And then you have to relocate them. That brings us to Virginia. Now, if you don’t relocate them about 25 miles away, according to experts, rodents will find their way back. Well, an easy way to solve that problem is to cross a river, and what’s on the other side of the river? Virginia.”


Update: Bad Rap on Rats? RWC says "they need to read the law:"

Indeed, while the law applies to wildlife, it excludes "commensal rodents:"

(5) “Wildlife” shall include any free-roaming wild animal, but shall not include: (A) Domestic animals; (B) Commensal rodents; (C) Invertebrates; and (D) Fish.

However, Cuccinelli's argument is about specific rats.

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.

"Commensal" (I had to look this up) refers to a symbiotic relationship in which one party benefits and the other is unharmed. Presumably common rats -- vermin -- would be considered parasitic and hence excluded. (Although, technically, parasitic rats would actually be protected, but I assume they'd put those in the "conmmensal" category.)

I'm not sure about these "rice rats" and "deer mice." I don't know what those are. Rice rats apparently live in marshes in the northeastern US, so I assume they exist in DC.


Via @fredosso.


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posted by Ace at 04:36 PM

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