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article imageSan Francisco's 'Rat Girl' is causing problems (Video)

By Anne Sewell     Jun 2, 2014 in Odd News
San Francisco - A 43-year-old woman known as "Erica J," or by the nickname "Rat Girl," has been actively breeding rats in a residential hotel in Minna Street and then releasing them "into the wild," so to speak, in the local parks.
San Francisco is reportedly experiencing a big problem with rats and this woman might have quite a lot to do with this. Police say Erica was living in "deplorable living conditions" with around 300 rats.
The animal control department in San Francisco has stated that Erica "compulsively breeds the rats," and this causes infestations wherever she lives. They confiscate the animals wherever they can, but wherever she moves to, she always finds and breeds more.
Apparently they eventually had to exterminate 1,000 rats in the hotel. KTVU interviewed Animal Care and Control Captain Denise Bongiovanni, who said the rats had actually burrowed into other people's rooms in the hotel, and that they can carry disease and parasites.
However, she said prosecuting Erica is unlikely to solve the problem. "I was immediately concerned for the well-being of Erica. I believe that there's a serious underlying mental health issue that needs to be addressed and it seems to be unresolved," she said.
Bongiovanni added that Erica had lived under Japantown pedestrian bridge with her rats. "She had the rats living off of a cart and apparently some of them had escaped and were burrowing into an area near a pedestrian bridge," she said, adding, "Our officer went out and tried to locate them and tried to collect them, but was unable to at the time."
The video above quotes National Geographic as saying that one pair of breeding rats can produce up to 15,000 descendants in just one year, which highlights the problems Erica can be causing.
In the case of the latest batch of rats confiscated from Erica, some were apparently domesticated and have found new homes. However, the feral or diseased rats among them were euthanized.
More about Erica J, Rat Girl, San Francisco, Rats, Breeding
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