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City's rat abatement program eliminated

Sept. 14, 2008 at 8:29 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Officials in Columbus, Ohio, have had to call off a successful two-year effort to attack rat problems because of budget cuts.

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Sunday that the program was aimed at combating rats in Columbus' downtown and university areas.

The newspaper said a 3 percent spending cut in the Columbus Public Health proposed budget for 2009 ensured that the $275,000 program won't be revived.

"In times of limited resources, we have to make tough decisions," Public Health spokesman Jose Rodriguez said. "This is not a required public-health function."

Federal officials say the city's rat population could rebound.

"If the right conditions are present for rodents to live, the population can rebound quickly," said Capt. Mike Herring, a senior environmental health officer at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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