Rats overrunning California and government officials making problem worse, group claims

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Rats are running rampant in the Golden State. That's the claim by an advocacy group that argues state and local officials are contributing to the problem by banning the best methods to fight rats.

Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, released a study his organization conducted claiming the state is facing an explosion in a rodent population - primarily rats plaguing areas like downtown Los Angeles.

The report says the increase in rats is also causing a spike in dangerous diseases such as typhus.

DeMaio says the study was conducted by health experts, and vector and pest control professionals.

He says California saw a spike in its rodent population that started two years ago but has accelerated particularly in the last 12 months.

The report claims the continuing growth in the homeless population is one reason for the rodent infestation.

It also points fingers at state and local government officials contributing to the problem.

DeMaio argues many local governments including Los Angeles have banned the most effective practices for detecting and eradicating rats.

"When you ban the most effective tools for eradicating rats, why are you surprised when there's a spike in the population?" DeMaio said.

In two weeks the state Legislature will take up Senate Bill 1788. The California Ecosystems Protection Act, championed by Assemblyman Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, would ban most anticoagulant rodenticides.

A study conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Park Service and scientists found that rodenticides are having a major impact on wildlife, even pets. The mountain lion population is especially at risk.

"Testing has shown that nearly every mountain lion has rat poison in their system," Bloom said.
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