Rats Run Rampant as Result of Lay Offs, Says Stringer

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Rats are having their run of the city these days because of lay offs to pest control management, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer charged Tuesday.

During a conference of union leaders and residents on Tuesday, Stringer said that the health department's cuts have caused a rat infestation.

"They say they are going to save $1.5 million on the front end, but when you reduce the number of pest control workers you actually lose the 6 million dollars in fees that they generate," Stringer said.

The health department said layoffs will have no impact on the agency's ability to respond to pest complaints because its core functions remain intact, which include inspections, exterminations, and public outreach.

"It shouldn't have to be that I jokingly call these pests my neighbors," said Stephanie Araujo, who lives near a train station in Washington Heights, "but that's what it is because they greet me every evening once the sun comes down. They run rampant from the back of the building to the front."