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New Yorkers report 'brazen' rats leaping into strollers for snacks

UPI News Service, 08/11/2017 

New Yorkers are complaining that rats have overrun some of the city's parks and are leaping into strollers in search of food.

Residents of New York City's Upper West Side have told State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal that rats are "everywhere" in areas like Central Park and Riverside Park, CBS New York reported.

"They said that the rats jump into the strollers, so they're very brazen," Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal has asked the city to invest part of its $32 million Neighborhood Rat Reduction plan to specifically help combat the growing rat problem in her district, which includes the Upper West Side, as the rodents grow more daring in their pursuit of food.

"The rat problem here is severe," she told the Wall Street Journal. "More money, more efforts need to be directed to the parks here on the Upper West Side."

A City Hall spokeswoman said the city's current plans focus on targeting the Lower East Side, Chinatown, the East Village, the Bronx's Grand Concourse area and the Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

"Our new plan builds upon our current abatement efforts to target the three most infested neighborhoods in NYC, and will be fully launched by the end of 2017," she said. "Once this is complete, the city will review the plan's impact and discuss expansion to other zones."

The mayor's office said current programs in the Upper West Side send staff to visit infested areas every seven to 10 days until the rodents are removed.

Areas covered under the Neighborhood Rat Reduction plan use "smart" trash cans, dry ice and severe fines for illegal garbage dumping to discourage growth in the rat populations.

Upper West Side Parks have not yet received clearance to use dry ice and can't spray conventional rodenticide because the chemicals may poison the local hawk population.

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