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PETA slams Jared Kushner as "rich pest" in billboard targeting "rat infested" Baltimore apartments

Cummings defends Baltimore, responds to Trump

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is taking their advocacy efforts right to the West Wing with their latest billboard campaign. The billboard calls White House advisor and real estate scion Jared Kushner — whose family owns more than a dozen apartment complexes in the area—  a "rich pest." In the ad, Kushner is pictured laying atop a pile of cash next to a photo of a rat PETA dubs the "poor guy just trying to survive" holding a piece of cheese.

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PETA

The eyebrow-raising ad comes after Kushner's father-in-law,  President Trump, called out longtime Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings in a series of social media rants about his leadership of his district, which includes Baltimore County. In it, Mr. Trump referred to Baltimore as a "rat and rodent-infested mess."

According to CBS Baltimore affiliate WJZ-TV, since 2017 there have been 164 complaints at the Kushner-owned properties, resulting in 56 correction notices and citations of a proposed $13,200 in fines, according to Baltimore County spokesman T.J. Smith. 

All of these were for livability issues in the complexes, including mold, insect infestations, mice, rats, window or door leaks, inadequate air conditioning or heat.

699 of the units passed annual inspection, while 200 units failed, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The billboard is located at an address near Baltimore's city hall, police department, district court and HUD offices. 

PETA, meanwhile, offered some of their own suggestions for dealing with a rodent problem in a humane fashion, such as putting away food and garbage in well-sealed containers that rats can't chew through, and sealing any holes or cracks around your property.  

"Smart, social, resourceful rats who are just trying to eke out an existence suffer when entitled landlords neglect humane rodent-control measures," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement. "PETA encourages building managers to evict unwanted tiny tenants using only effective, nonlethal methods."

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