Rats continue to pester D.C. mayor, neighborhoods

WASHINGTON D.C. – District of Columbia leaders are encouraging more homeowners and business owners to follow guidelines that will help bring down the rat population.

Mayor Muriel Bowser led a rat abatement walk through the Dupont Circle area Monday. She and a group of department of health, department of public works, Parks and Wildlife and other leaders weaved their way around the neighborhood.

The Dupont Circle area is in ward 2, where Bowser said 764 complaints about rats have come in since the beginning of the year.

Residents are encouraged to call or text 311 to alert district leaders about rat problem areas.

Bowser said while complaint numbers have climbed over the last two years, they aren’t just using complaint records as a measure of success.

“Tours like this are more about education than enforcement,” said Bowser. “So that residents and business owners know the best trash cans to get-- the best compactors.”

Some small businesses in the D.C. area have received money from the government to pay for trash compactors to keep trash from piling up or being left on the ground near trash cans.

“We have a real commitment to making sure that residents and business owners know what their obligation is to be good actors and not bad actors in making sure their space is clear and clean,” said Public Works Director Christopher Shorter.

The mayor shared the following ways that you can help with rat abatement:

- Store garbage in metal or heavy plastic containers with tight fitting lids.
- Place trash outside shortly before pickup, instead of days in advance.
- Remove weeds and debris near buildings and in yards where rats can easily hide.
- Store food that has been removed from it's original packaging in metal, glass or heavy-duty plastic containers with tight fitting lids.
- Remove uneaten pet food and store pet food in secure containers.