Chicago Doubles Down on Rat Abatement Efforts

In a North Side alley, Jay Baker prepared for battle Wednesday morning.

"This rat burrow is like a hole in the ground, so we move the carts away and check for holes in the dirt," he said.

For six years, Baker has been part of teams from the Department of Streets and Sanitation attacking Chicago’s rat population where it lives.

In the 4800 block of North Kilpatrick, Krishna Chokkarna says they have been back four times.

"A lot of rats were there," Chokkarna said. "I think now after putting the medicines, things are coming down."

The city is redoubling its rat abatement efforts, resuming its dry ice efforts to suffocate them in their holes and going after the garbage carts where they find food.

Even though carts like these are strong they are not perfect. Given enough time--and enough rats--they can chew right through.

The city is rolling out replacements for 10,000 city garbage carts.

"We have a serious problem and we are going to put serious resources behind that problem to fix it," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday.

And the Department of Streets and Sanitation says you can help make the situation better in your neighborhood by plugging gaps under your garage door where rodents can get in, Juan Gonzalez of the department says.

"So if I am a home owner, what do I do here?" he posited. "You want to put that rubber strip, there is a rubber strip that goes underneath that garage door that prevents any kind of animal or any kind of stuff from getting inside there."

And picking up after your pets is important as well.

"Anytime you have a problem with rodents there is a food source some place," said the department's commissioner, Charles Williams, said. "The number one food source for rodents is dog feces. If folks just pick up behind their dogs--that’s a huge win right there."

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