WASHINGTON - It's a pesky problem the District has dealt with for years - rats. FOX 5 has learned there has been a spike in calls from city residents complaining about the rat population.
D.C. has received thousands of calls to 311, the city's 24-hour services request toll-free phone number, about complaints of rats. Over the last three fiscal years, the annual number of rat complaint calls has risen by over a thousand calls:
Fiscal Year 2014: 2,443
Fiscal Year 2015: 2,004
Fiscal Year 2016: 3,024
Fiscal Year 2017: 3,286
On Thursday night, FOX 5 found plenty of rats at the Southwest Waterfront. From the moment we arrived at The Wharf, the rats were very visible, running to the construction sites near stalls where fish and seafood are sold. Business owners told us the rats are a contentious issue and bad for business.
It has been no secret that the District has had issues with the rat population. A Yelp page called the "Dupont Circle Rat Sanctuary" was created and many reviewers have been posting on the page since 2014.
Last year, pest control company Orkin named Washington D.C. the third-rattiest city in the country behind Chicago and New York.
In June, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city is focusing on abatement strategies aimed at doing a better job of controlling the rodent population.