FREDERICK, MD. -- This Western Maryland community does not want Takoma Park's rats, and they're letting the Washington suburb know it.
Takoma Park announced last week that it was hit with compassion for rats and, urging residents to kill the rodents as humanely as possible, began distributing "Havahart" traps, which capture an animal without harming it.
Some animal rights advocates suggested that rats be enticed with snacks into the Havahart wire trap and then "liberated in a less hostile environment -- say, the pastures of Frederick County."
A Frederick resident used the opinion page of The Frederick Post on Wednesday to tell animal-rights advocates to "share the rat race with your neighbors in Prince George's and Montgomery counties. And while you're at it, keep your cockroaches, too!"
"Today you send us your sewer rats; tomorrow it will be drug trafficking and violent crime," wrote Esther Hasson Kelly. "Don't use Frederick County as your 'Roach Motel.' "
Takoma Park officials who has issued free peanut butter and molasses-flavored rat poison since the early 1970s had become concerned that children or pets could be exposed to the poison.
Given that risk and potential liability problems of the poison, city officials began issuing the "Havahart" traps and the somewhat less humane sticky traps, which are coated with a strong glue that immobilizes a rodent or any other small animal.
Some groups are against rat bait because the poison causes a slow, agonizing death. They also do not like glue traps because the immobilized animal could die of dehydration, starvation or exhaustion. Rat control inspectors say rodents have been known to chew their legs off to escape.
J. Anita Stup, president of the Frederick Board of County Commissioners, said she was incensed by the animal advocates' suggestion: "Ship 'em up here and let 'em loose? Give me a break."