Since today is the first day of the Chinese Year of the Rat, it seems appropriate to get to know NYC’s new resident rat master, Bobby Corrigan. The city just signed on the country’s leading rodent expert as a full-time employee. Corrigan’s job is to keep rats from eating the core out of the Big Apple.
NYC is full of prime rodent real estate: lots of low shrubbery, parked cars, construction sites, abandoned buildings, tunnels and sewers. Overflowing dumpsters, trash bags stacked along the sidewalks, and lunch bags tossed in (or near) park garbage cans provide a never-ending supply of culinary delights. Corrigan certainly has his work cut out for him.
A city consultant for the past 3 years, Corrigan used his 25 years of expertise as a rodentologist to help the Health Department devise a new $1.5 million rat inspection program for the Bronx. The 18-month pilot program, which started January 1, trains inspectors at Corrigan’s “Rodent Academy” in the art of ferreting out rat activity. The program employs six inspectors — Corrigan’s “Rat Pack” — to inspect properties and make sure landlords evict any furry, four-legged tenants. If evidence of rat activity is found, landlords have two weeks to get rid of the rats before being cited.
Inspectors will carry hand-held computers that will allow them to record and track data while in the field. “Right now, we don’t have any concrete data,” Corrigan told the New York Post. “One of the goals is to collect that data so we can see where problem areas are.” The plan is to create maps to help community boards tackle the problem. “Rats are a barometer for human activity,” Corrigan explained. “So if we can show people where the problems are, they will hopefully do what they need to do” (i.e., get rid of the rats!).