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Rat Hoarder Stumps San Francisco Officials

Erica J. breeds hundreds of the animals
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2014 5:45 PM CDT
Rat Hoarder Stumps San Francisco Officials
A San Francisco woman just won't stop breeding rats.   (Shutterstock)

San Francisco authorities just don't know what to do about the 43-year-old woman dubbed "Rat Girl." She keeps breeding rats—we're talking hundreds of them—and some escape or are set free. The result: A thousand rats were wandering around the neighborhood of the residential hotel where she was staying in 2011, officials tell KTVU. In the past three years, many of the animals have been exterminated; some have been adopted, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Since 2011, the woman, known as Erica J., has also turned up living under a pedestrian bridge and, last month, in a park, where she was apparently feeding rats dog food. "The officer that responded noted that they had been there for some time. They had actually sort of dug a maze and had areas to tunnel and burrow," animal control official Denise Bongiovanni says. In some cases, Erica gives up a few pets, but she likely keeps others secret, authorities note. "We could certainly impose punitive measures, but that wouldn't resolve the situation," Bongiovanni tells the New York Daily News. She adds, to KTVU: "This situation is probably going to continue ... until (Erica) gets the help that she needs." (More rats stories.)

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