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Vigilante rat killer deals with infestation

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BATON ROUGE - Someone poisoned nearly a hundred rats nesting between a fast food restaurant and a grocery store recently and whoever did it may be breaking the law.

"We don't use this bait; haven't for years," East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control Assistant Director Randy Vaeth said as he surveyed scores of dead rats and the chemical used to kill them Tuesday.

The rats established a thriving, yet nasty, colony near Airline Hwy and Old Hammond Hwy.  Most have been killed.

"Someone came out here and kind of vigilante poisoned the colony here," Vaeth said.

Vaeth and his crew were about to poison the rats with an environmentally safe chemical, but someone beat them to it with a chemical they were trying to avoid.  The chemical someone used to kill the rats is dangerous to other animals and if predators eat the rats, those animals could die.  The ingredients Vaeth planned to use would not harm animals if they ate the dead rats.

Toxins used to kill the rats can potentially kill federally protected animals.

"If an owl or vulture dies by consuming one of these rats and they can prove that through toxicology tests, it's a violation of the label, the EPA, wildlife laws in the state, as well as potential federal violations," Vaeth said.

DPW is expected to pick up the carcasses soon.


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