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Residents Say Rats Are Running Rampant In Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Rats running rampant in a Brooklyn neighborhood have residents on edge.

Now, they're looking for more help to get rid of the rodents.

"I'm not talking about 10 or 20; I'm talking four or five hundred of them," resident Jose Barreto told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock. "I've been through a lot in this neighborhood and the rats are the worst."

"You hear them screaming every night," he added.

Barreto said rats drill through trash cans and have even chewed through wires in his car.

"It's disgusting, it's vile," said neighbor Vanessa Londono. "I have this little puppy that I can't even take outside in the evenings, because the rats are bigger than she is."

She said she joined the Dean Street Block Association because of the rats.

"There's just no stopping them right now," she said.

Members of the block association told Murdock they believe empty lots around the neighborhood are the main reason for their rat problem.

Signs warn of rat poison on the premises, while traps line the block.

"We have an aggressive abatement program," said Ashley Cotton, a representative for Pacific Park, which owns the land and is developing 22 acres in Brooklyn.

She said the effort focuses on empty lots.

"We are maintaining a number of traps and have poison packs that are maintained on a weekly basis," she said. "Every single day there is a maintenance crew cleaning the sidewalks around the site you were at, B15, and any other open sidewalks around our construction sites," said Cotton.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams says the rats disrupt the quality of life. He took a rat tour late last year and learned people are cementing over green spaces to keep the rodents out and parents don't want their children playing outside.

"Those little black boxes you see in front of houses – rats are laughing at," he said.

He plans to host a rat summit in hopes that he can help lead the nasty buggers out of the borough.

"With some of the great exterminators and some of the great minds, we need to take this problem seriously," he said.

The health department told CBS2 it has conducted multiple exterminations on Dean Street and is optimistic positive results will be revealed in the coming weeks.


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