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Virginia to Washington, D.C.: Keep your rats to yourself

January 20, 2012 |  9:46 am

The message to Washington, D.C., from neighboring Virginia: Rats to you.

That would seem to sum up Virginia Atty. Gen. Ken Cuccinelli’s view of a Washington law that he says could lead the nation’s capital to send its rats across the Potomac.

Cuccinelli told that Washington’s Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 requires pest control companies to capture rats "and capture them in families -- you figure out how you’re going to do that with rats -- and then you’ve got to relocate them." He's worried they’ll end up in Virginia.

"Not true," said Mary Cheh, the Washington councilwoman who sponsored the law, which she said seeks to require that other forms of wildlife, not rats, be treated as humanely as possible.

The law expressly exempts rats, she said in a statement. "I would have hoped that people would have been inclined to read the bill before raging against it."

In spite of that assurance, Maryland State Delegate Patrick McDonough said in an interview Friday that he plans to introduce the Rat Trafficking Act to block the relocation of any rats to his state.

The controversy comes as Washington’s mayor has complained about rats at the Occupy DC sites.

Cheh has been receiving nasty emails from around the country since Cuccinelli made his comments, which were picked up by conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.

“ ‘Babe,' " she said, was "not the only four-letter word I was called in the emails."


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Photo: Washington, D.C.'s, Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 has Virginia and Maryland worried that the district might capture its rats and send them to neighboring states. The sponsor of that law dismisses such fears, suggesting critics actually read the law. Credit: Julie Jacobson / Associated Press