New York City has hired its first-ever “rat czar” to prevent the cat-sized rats from running rampant across the Big Apple, Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday.
The new city Director of Rodent Mitigation, Kathleen Corrardi, will coordinate city agencies including the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Parks and Recreation and Sanitation to develop “innovative ways to cut off rats’ food sources.”
The agencies will also employ “new technologies to detect and exterminate rat populations,” Adam’s office noted in a statement.
“You’ll be seeing a lot of me and a lot less rats,” Corradi told reporters as Adams announced his selection for the city’s first Raz Czar on Wednesday. “He hates rats, I hate rats, every New Yorker hates rats.”
“Rat mitigation is more than a quality-of-life issue for New Yorkers,” she said. “Rats are a symptom of systemic issues, including sanitation, health, housing and economic justice. As the first director of rodent mitigation, I’m excited to bring a science and system-based approach to fight rats. New York may be famous for the Pizza Rat, but rats, and the conditions that help them thrive will no longer be tolerated — no more dirty clubs, unmanaged spaces, or brazen burrowing.”
Just how bad is it in New York City?
Well, they just appointed their first ever Rat Czar. pic.twitter.com/O8DZaBRrUk
— Red Voice Media (@redvoicenews) April 14, 2023
Corradi, who will earn $155,000 a year as the city’s rat czar, previously served as the Queens director of space planning for the NYC Department of Education and worked as the department’s “sustainability manager” until November.
The rat czar will build a more welcoming city and tackle “public enemy number one,” Adams said.
“The rats are going to hate Kathy, but we’re excited to have her leading this important effort,” the Democrat lawmaker added.
Adams also announced the creation of the “Harlem Rat Mitigation Zone,” which primarily covers the northern half of Manhattan, a $3.5 million investment in rat reduction.
The money will be used to renovate 28 New York City Housing Authority properties, 73 New York City Parks locations, 70 Department of Education schools and over 10,000 private properties and pay for equipment including bait and traps and flooring for public housing to prevent rat burrowing.
Interactions with rats can be deadly, USA reports:
In 2021, at least 13 people were hospitalized and one died from leptospirosis, a condition that attacks the kidneys and liver, The Associated Press reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through animal urine. In addition to rats carrying the bacteria, cattle, pigs, horses, dogs and other wild animals also carry it.
Most human infections are associated with rats, though, the AP reported.
Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack addressed the risks associated with high rat populations, as well as the symbolism behind their overtaking of the city.
“Rats are more than just a quality-of-life issue – they are a symbol of systemic issues that for too long have plagued New Yorkers, particularly low-income and communities of color,” Varlack said. “I’m thrilled to have Kathy Corradi as our first rat czar, who will coordinate across agencies, bring a scientific, data-driven approach to the role, and deliver on Mayor Adams’ vision to finally control our rat population.”
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