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Posted at 01:40 PM ET, 01/20/2012

D.C. rat concerns spread to Baltimore County


Concerns about rodent infestations at the McPherson Square encampment led to new scrutiny of the city’s wildlife control law. (Cliff Owen - Associated Press)
This rat thing isn’t going away quietly.

The fallout from Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s recent attention to the District’s new animal control law has spread to Maryland, where Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) is now planning to introduce an “anti-rat trafficking bill,” as he described it to Timonium Patch Thursday.

”I’m protecting the borders again, this time from illegal rats,” McDonough, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, told Patch. “I’m very concerned about my friends in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. They’re on the front lines of this.”

McDonough held a news conference on the proposal Friday afternoon; the Post’s Aaron C. Davis was there and will report soon. McDonough’s attention comes after the issue went hot button this week in the conservative media. As for his bill’s prospects, note that Democrats hold commanding majorities in both houses of the Maryland legislature.

Meanwhile, city officials are participating in a conference call Friday afternoon with staff from Cuccinelli’s office and staff for Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who considered blocking the law’s implementation last summer. The call is “to just explain to them what the law actually is, and, no, it doesn’t cover rats,” said Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D).

Ribeiro notes that while the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 is in effect, regulations concerning its execution have yet to be written and, in any case, there is no danger of rodents being shipped to neighboring states.

“It’s really much ado about nothing,” he said. “It is honestly laughable that this has become any kind of issue.”

Cuccinelli’s office, however, continues to insist that the Commonwealth is at risk for the illegal immigration of certain types of rodents. A spokesman for Wolf did not immediately return a request for comment on his concerns.

By  |  01:40 PM ET, 01/20/2012

 
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