Rat Hunters

The vigilantes tackling New York's rat infestation

Rat Hunters New York’s rat population is as old as the city itself, but the rodent issue is becoming a battleground. Now a force of anti-rat vigilantes are taking matters in to their own hands.
In 2022, New Yorkers called in almost 3.2 million rat sightings to the city’s Rodent Complaint Hotline. Over the years, the city has tried to control its vermin problem with a number of attempted solutions, but locals are losing patience. An eclectic group of dog lovers called The Ryders Alley Trencher-Fed Society, also known as RATS, comes together at night to hunt and kill rats using a centuries-old technique: their dogs. “We're doing a service. How much you value the service is open to some discussion,” says Richard Reynolds, a 78-year-old dog show judge and certified breeder. “An exterminator is not going to handle rats on a street unless they get paid. We do the same thing for nothing.”

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