New York City has a big rat problem. Thankfully, there is R.A.T.S., a canine-led rat hunting outfit dedicated to the destruction of those unsightly little pests.
Founded in 1995 by resident Richard Reynolds, R.A.T.S stands for the Ryders Alley Trencher-Fed Society. Team members include a variety of pups that were bred to hunt rodents, including Border Terriers, Norfolk Terriers, Fox Terriers and Dachshunds.
Local news affiliate Fox5 caught up with Reynolds and his team last week while they were out hunting late Thursday night and early Friday morning.
Reynolds explained the simplicity of the process.
“Rats run a set path every night,” he explained. “They don’t vary more than several inches from where they run.”
Put the dogs on that path and problem solved.
“It’s not rocket science,” Reynolds said.
The rats are usually dispatched quickly.
“If things work right, and [they don’t] always,” Reynolds said, “they should catch the rat, shake it vigorously, break its neck and move onto the next one … We do [this] for the dogs. But doing it for the dogs doesn’t attract much attention. Killing rats attracts a lot of attention.”
And if the dogs don’t kill the vermin right away, Reynolds carries a stick with him that has a sharpened carbide tip.
That night — Mighty, Paco, Marcus, Zoe, Rommel and Coco — claimed 16 rodents. But Reynolds can’t help but to focus on the ones that got away.
“We don’t count how many we kill,” Reynolds said. “What we count is how many get away.”
R.A.T.S. is a popular club and there is a waiting list to join in on the fun.
In the meantime, if you live in the Big Apple and your neighborhood is being overrun, you can contact R.A.T.S. and have them come to the rescue. Send pics and videos, along with the specific location, to email@example.com.