Inside The Vigilante Group Of New Yorkers Who Hunt Rats At Night (HBO)

Rats aren't only a part of New York City’s underground — they're an inseparable part of its pop culture. There’s Master Splinter from the Ninja Turtles, Pizza Rat, and even Cannibal Rat. But for every celebrity rat, there’s another 250,000 to 2 million anonymous rodents living in the city — and the city health department is fighting to bring down.
The battle can be deadly. Last year, three people in a Bronx city block contracted leptospirosis through rat urine. Only two survived.
To combat the problem, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a $32 million initiative to rid New York of its signature rodents, concentrating on hyper-infested areas that the city describes as "rat reservoirs."
Multiple city agencies are currently focusing their efforts around public housing buildings, where they plan to replace dirt basement floors, block passageways and amp up trapping, baiting and poisoning efforts.They also apply dry ice to the rats’ burrow systems, effectively suffocating them as the carbon dioxide gets released while the ice melts.
But if all else fails, a small group of dedicated rat hunters are ready to step in.
When dusk settles, Richard Reynolds and his vigilante rat hunters known as “The Ryders Alley Trencher-Fed Society” — or R.A.T.S for short — roam lower Manhattan’s streets and dumpsters, keeping their dogs’ instincts sharp and the hunting tradition alive.
In the three decades Richard has been hunting rats with his dogs, he says he must have killed thousands of rats. But he doesn’t really keep track.
A hunter through and through, he only counts the ones that get away.
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Caption: [music]. the norwegian brown rat is in new york . city icon but for every pizza or a . cannibal rat to win over residents and . youtubers hearts there are another . 250,000 to . the city could do without the number is . loose because rats are sneaky and they . breed like rats fighting this brown . scourge are the city health department . and group of people who own terriers . under mayor deblasio the city launched a . 32 million dollar initiative in the last . year to rid new york of its signature. rodents concentrating on hyper infested . rat reservoirs such as this park behind . me. well i ensure this works falls on the . city health department whose own rat . department is headed up by rats bert . carolyn bragdon with her team rat . inspectors rat faders meant stop atures . and rat erasers all whom we are about to . meet and hopefully harass rattling why . rats a problem we think of rats really . as a quality of life issue . rats are are gross you know people don't . want to go to the park and see rats but . there are also other concerns you know. rests their nesting underneath the . sidewalk that sidewalk can cave in if . they're trying to get into a building . they could be chewing or knowing or . damaging on the doors the rats caused a . lot of financial harm to new york city . infrastructure this summer the city's . health department is focused their . efforts on the worst rat reservoirs many . of which are nestled in and around. public housing projects they go in. between . as smart as if it can be they made these . homes they create they own the big yeah . i mean i mean it's disgusting. building off earlier initiatives like. the installation of over . solar-powered rap proof trash cans the . city's rat reduction team employs a two . pronged approach to its job prong one is . erro harassment which basically means . stopping up or caving invisible rat . holes so they have to find a new home . prong two is just killing them either by . putting poison pellets and bait stations . or just directly into their burrows or . more recently by using special rattus . idly formulated dry ice. basically with dry ice they're just . going to quickly and painlessly go to . sleep this is like yeah here we go ready . we're trying to knock them down enough . so that they don't just rebound . immediately while the city does its rat . work by day another group of new yorkers . take to the streets at night to reduce . the number of rats one foul beast at a . time or sometimes two the writers alley . trencher fed society is a nocturnal . hunting party or terrier owners and . other small dogs who were originally . bred to chase rats into their holes and . bring them out dead just right under the . williamsburg bridge on the lower east . side and the hunt is just about to begin . richard reynolds has been part of this . rodent death squad for over 30 years and . although their effect on the city's . overall rat population is extremely . negligible it's a good workout for their . dogs and it keeps their instincts sharp . when rats are cornered they will run . anywhere okay all right they will run up . your pant leg so to prevent that we're . going to duct tape your pant legs i . shouldn't just tuck my pants into my. socks er if i took my pants with my . socks i won't that won't do the trekker . how do you guys do are you blooded after. your dog gets your first its first rat i . can't help but notice i'm the only one . with duct tape around this club's tammis . this is mars mars is a scent dog you and . mars are gonna go right into the bags. and he's gonna try to find a rat and . push it out to the other door okay on . the count of three one two three . [music]. [applause]. [music]. [music]. that's a wrap . [music]. gonna come around the back there's a big . warren over there it is like sometimes . 30 40 of them i want everybody on leash . until we're all set up and then we . twist. [music]. still eyes . [music]. got it. shut your ass right up dick how does . credit work if mom's flushed it up but . another dog caught it is it a group. effort okay good okay it's a team thing . you get it yeah . all right what where you go yo look at . the size of this there's still . that one's still alive . all right that's a lot - well this one . really want that in account because it's . preggers somebody said don't you wear . gloves and i said no but they tried to . have to chew my fingernails hey get the. cafe across watch hey . that's how we do what queens new york . stop drop it well done thank you very . much everybody likes the rat angle but . we're really here for the benefit of the . dogs this is what the majority of the . dogs were bred for it's what they like . to do then if we kill some rats along . the line we're better off you know it's . a good night when the dogs stay still . for this long . you. .
 

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