New York starts 'rat academy'

March 11, 2005 at 12:31 PM

NEW YORK, March 11 (UPI) -- New York health officials are opening a "rodent college" to teach city workers ways to get rid of rats.

The course -- titled "Integrated Pest Management Control Academy" -- is funded with a three-year federal grant, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

New York Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden, at a City Council budget hearing Thursday, said," This is the No. 1 issues that gets brought to my attention by New Yorkers." The Daily News said the city's 311 phone line received nearly 7,500 rat-related complaints from July to October last year.

The city has begun a "rat indexing" program, the newspaper said, in which workers will conduct block-by-block investigations searching for food sources and burrows.

Edgar Butts, assistant commissioner for veterinary and pest control services, told the Daily News "rats are intelligent animals" and will sniff out many bait programs. He added as long as open trash containers are handy, no amount of rat poison would get rid of the vermin.

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