DC Council considers proposal to tackle city's rat problem

The D.C. Council thinks working with restaurants will help bring the rat population under control.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The DC Council is considering a proposal that would look to put an end to the city's rodent problem.

Councilmember Charles Allen is one of the co-sponsors of the "Making Rodent Syndicates Flee Restaurants, Interior Settings, Basements and Yards Amendment Act of 2017."

Click here to read the legislation. 

The legislation makes two major proposals. It would require require new restaurants to submit "rodent control plans" to the Department of Health to outline how they would work to mitigate rodent issues. 

RELATED: Which DC neighborhoods report the most rodents?

"Food waste, cooking oil, things like that, when they're disposed of just in the back alley, the bags leak," Allen said. "It becomes, really, a place where rats are harbored." 

The bill would also revive the city's rodent control fund which used to consist of fines and citations that were handed out to businesses that violated health codes.

"The dollars that came from that would be reinvested back into fighting rats and rodents and it sunset several years ago," Allen said.

A public hearing was held to gather opinions on the legislation Wednesday at the Wilson Building in downtown D.C.

Allen said he would like to see the bill go to a committee vote either in the Winter or Spring.
 
The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington does have some concerns about the legislation. RAMW President and CEO Kathy Hollinger said in a statement the bill isolates the city's rodent problem as a food service-related problem.

"There are cooperative models in place in certain neighborhoods that we should look toward when trying to effectively address rodents in the city that take a holistic approach by recognizing that the increase of the rodent population is a result of a growing city, climate changes, development, an increase in residential buildings and many additional factors," she said.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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