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Neighborhood's $40,000-a-Year 'War on Rats' Doing a Lot of Collateral Damage

Dead or dying wildlife, from bobcats to owls, are popping up all around Dos Vientos, a neighborhood in Thousand Oaks, and locals are snapping photos of the awful-looking creatures and sharing them on Facebook. "Just last weekend, photos were posted of two bobcats and an owl suffering terribly. Others commented on seeing coyotes on the side of the road dying," says one neighborhood resident. Outraged locals are pointing the finger at the rodenticides that are (or were) being employed at the behest of the neighborhood association—the gradual sickening of the local wildlife is "the unintended collateral damage of the Dos Vientos Ranch Community Assn.'s annual $40,000 war on rats," says the LA Times.

The kind of rodenticide that could harm coyotes or bobcats (and that famously sickened the Griffith Park Mountain Lion) is what's called a second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide. It's been widely documented that this kind of poison kills the rat that eats it, but also hangs around in the dead rat so that any animal that eats the deceased rodent is also often killed. This is the rat poison that made the Griffith Park Mountain Lion P-22 look mangy, rough, and near-death a couple years ago, causing Glendale to switch up its rat-poisoning approach.

Online earlier this week, a rep for the neighborhood association countered assertions that they are to blame, saying that the pest control company they hired to put out traps switched in December from an eradication method that used these harmful anti-coagulant poisons to one that wasn't toxic.

The new method involves putting out bait that turns rats poop a bright color (visible only when exposed to a black light); where lots of colorful rat feces are present, pest control workers lay plenty of the familiar "snap-traps." But at least one local recently found a trap still baited with the harmful rat poison, making some wonder if all the traps were truly removed from the area.
· Suffering bobcats, coyotes, owls spur Thousand Oaks neighborhood to rethink war on rats [LAT]