Pizza Rat 1, Mayor de Blasio 0

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is on a campaign to wipe out the large populations of rats that plague the city and, in particular, some of the city’s housing projects. Yesterday, he gave a presentation on his plan while sitting behind a large sign that read “Watch Out Rats!” “We love our city but our city is associated for many generations with the problem of rats,” de Blasio said. He then outlined a new approach to the problem which involved the use of dry ice to humanely suffocate entire rat colonies in their burrows.

In order to demonstrate this new technique de Blasio and workers from the city’s housing authority went to Brooklyn and dropped dry ice in a burrow. What happened next wasn’t part of the demonstration. From the NY Post:

Mayor de Blasio and workers from the Housing Authority were outwitted by the rodent during a press event at a Bushwick project when it triumphantly escaped their clutches as they attempted to demonstrate a new high-tech extermination technique.

Like a scene from “Tom and Jerry,” workers fruitlessly tried to stomp on the agile rodent when it scurried from a hole in which dry ice had been dropped in an effort to control the furry pests.

One worker even swung a shovel at the plucky rat in a comical whack-a-mole routine.

But no one could lay a hand on the tiny animal, which dodged all the would-be rat-slayers at the Bushwick Houses and scampered to safety at a playground on Humboldt Street.

You can see video of the rat escaping de Blasio’s death squad about 4 minutes into this clip posted by the Mayor himself.

It makes me wonder how good this technique really is. In January I wrote a post about the burgeoning rat problem in Washington, DC. Exterminators there were also adopting the dry ice treatment to kill the rats but made clear that it was a supplement to their regular use of poison, not a replacement. I suspect that’s the case in New York as well.

This was embarrassing but it could have been much worse. If the guy with the shovel had been a little quicker, he’d have cut the rat in half while the mayor looked on. So much for the PR about humanely killing the rats. This was almost a gory mess.

Here’s a local news report on the effort which shows a bit of the escaping rat. And if you don’t remember Pizza Rat, New York’s most famous rat, that clip is here.