NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Furious tenants of a public housing project in the Bronx were pleading for help Monday, saying their buildings are overrun with rats -- and they're not kidding. They have the video to prove it.
But we should warn you, the pictures are not for the squeamish.
"I'm traumatized," tenant Veronica Martinez told CBS2's Marcia Kramer.
You'd be traumatized, too, if you had the same kitchen as Martinez.
Rats. An entire family of rats, some as big as cats, have taken over, hopping in the sink, into pots and pans. It's absolutely gut wrenching.
"I should never have to experience not one but seven rats in my kitchen," Martinez said. "It's disgusting. All over the stove, the washing machine, they just invaded my apartment."
And she's not the only tenant at the New York City Housing Authority's Claremont Consolidated Houses in the Bronx who are "ratting out" the problem.
"My wife can hardly sleep because you hear them in the walls," one tenant said.
Asia Clemente's 1-year-old son was bitten by a rat. She wants Mayor Bill de Blasio to fix the problem.
"If we're paying you rent we deserve to live like human beings, not live like we're savages, because we're not," Clemente said.
What makes the situation worse is that garbage is left out in the courtyard and the residents say it breeds more rats.
Tenant Marilyn Veguilla took a picture of the garbage there on Monday morning. Of course, it was magically cleaned up before reporters arrived, but some of the opened trash cans remained.
"I got small kids upstairs. There's about four of us with asthma. We cant be dealing with this kind of condition," Veguilla said.
"It was as if that family was living in a sewer, infested with rodents. I think we're sick and tired of seeing the Housing Authority and the city at large treat NYCHA residents as second-class citizens," Bronx City Councilman Ritchie Torres said.
Bronx Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson said Mayor de Blasio should see the conditions first hand.
"Come to Claremont Consolidated," Gibson said, "and see how your residents, how our constituents, are living day to day. It's not acceptable. You wouldn't live like this."
NYCHA agreed, saying it's now taking steps to deal with the problem.
"Our residents should not have to live in these conditions. We apologize to our residents and will continue to vigilantly monitor this situation," a spokesperson said in a statement.
The agency said it intends to come up with a comprehensive plan that will include inspections and fixing unsafe conditions.
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