Los Angeles City Council Chair Suggests Deploying "An Army of Cats" to Address Rat Situation


He thought it would be a purrrr-fict idea.

Herb Wesson, president of the Los Angeles City Council, suggested deploying an "army of cats" to fight the rodent problem at City Hall.

Anyone who has ever seen Tom and Jerry knows that cats can be deadly for smaller prey, even though a recent study suggests the opposite. But city health officials said the cats would help spread the fleas in the 91-year-old building and its annex is City Hall.

"The rat fleas were immediately jumping on the cat," Dr. Dawn Terashita, deputy director of the city's public health department, told The Los Angeles Times.

Downtown Los Angeles is at the heart of an epidemic of typhus, according to health officials. Several homeless people living near City Hall are among the victims. It blooms in unhealthy conditions and is often spread by infected fleas that pull rats. It is rarely fatal when it is treated quickly with antibiotics, but epidemics have killed thousands of people in the Middle Ages.

The newspaper reported that at least two city employees said they had been bitten by fleas. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the health risks were minimal.

"They have been rats since I was there," Garcetti told the newspaper. "[There is] a case that may or may not have come from there, but is still in the normal range of what we have each year. "

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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