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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/20/2012

Cuccinelli stands ground on D.C. rats


Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli isn’t one to back down, and his contention that a D.C. law regulating the capture and disposal of critters and vermin has led the city to dispose of rats in the commonwealth has provoked a Maryland legislator into proposing a law that would forbid the practice.

WTOP reports this morning the Cuccinelli’s office released a statement further digging into the argument that he made to a conservative radio station last week that the District’s 2010 Wildlife Protection Act, which regulates the people who would capture or kill raccoons or other unwanted guests in your home, will invariably lead critter control specialists to dump D.C. rats in Virginia. (Rush Limbaugh repeated the claim this week, leading the legislation’s sponsor, Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh, to receive a flood of colorful e-mails from Dittoheads.) According to WTOP’s report, Cuccinelli did not concede that the D.C. law specifically exempts rats and mice — which means they can be killed — and further argued that it imposes undue burdens on animal control operators.

And since the fiction sounds much more damning than the facts, Essex-Middle River Patch reported Thursday that Maryland Del. Pat McDonough is planning on introducing legislation that would ban the District from sending its rats north into the Old Line State:

“I’m protecting the borders again, this time from illegal rats,” McDonough said. “I’m very concerned about my friends in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. They’re on the front lines of this.”
McDonough said his bill would prevent D.C. from sneaking their rats across the border into Maryland’s suburbs and eating our government cheese.

It’s probably worth noting that the law has been on the books since March 2011, and given that there are no documented cases of D.C.-sponsored rat-smuggling into neighboring states that I have seen, we either have to imagine that it’s not happening (likely) or that we’re so good at it that they’ll never find out (very unlikely).

Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By  |  11:00 AM ET, 01/20/2012

 
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