Loose lips sink ships, pizza scraps breed rats. We need all hands for this Great Mammalian War we're fighting—no backsliding, no lollygagging. It's us or them. Stare directly into the "Rat Portal." Turn your back and your city dreams get swallowed up in a wave of squeaking yellow teeth. Comptroller Scott Stringer has conducted an audit [PDF] from the front lines; sit down, let me pour you a drink.
In FY 2013, rat complaints to 311 rose to 24,586, around 2,000 more than 2012. Stringer examined the Department of Health's response to those complaints and found many of them lacking. In 24% of cases examined, DOH failed to make a visit within 10 days. In 160 cases, a visit was never made. The gestation period of a Norway rat is 22 days; they reach sexual maturity at 22 days and can produce 7 litters a year, 12 pups per litter.
And there's more.
Inspection results were incorrectly recorded…for three of the 50 inspections in which we accompanied the inspectors…For each inspection, one or more of the following conditions was found: rat droppings, burrows, uncovered trash cans and a water drainage pipe with a broken cover…two [sites] were recorded as passed and one was recorded as "no access."
DOH inspectors find a rat water park and mark it all clear? Stringer calls for more "supervisory checks," faster response times, and better accounting.
“Without a vigilant and timely response by the City to citizen complaints, this problem will come back to bite us again and again," Stringer said at a press conference in Harlem yesterday, apparently unaware that puns make the animals stronger.
The DOH says it "strongly disagrees" with the auditors' conclusions, pointing out that 85% of the rat inspections it performs are proactive and not complaint-based. Loyalty oaths are not mentioned in the audit, though they probably should be.