They carry disease, reproduce quickly, and are terrorizing neighborhoods in Baltimore County. Rats have moved in, and they're hard to get rid of.
To fight back against the rodent infestation, teams of County Code Enforcement Inspectors sweep through alleys looking for trash cans without tight-fitting lids, yards littered with dog feces, and rat nests. Crews hand out violation tickets that come with a possible fine.
"We are issuing people tickets that are making them aware of what the problems are that causes the rats, because rats live where they can eat," said Baltimore County code enforcement coordination, Robyn Clark.
So far this year, more than 2,000 citations have been written by sweep teams. The rats are not an issue leaders are taking lightly.
"So we've doubled our team and we've also doubled our exterminators,” Clark said. “So we really are concerned about working very hard to try and fix the problem."
In 2016, exterminators inspected more then 57,000 properties and treated around 11,000.
Now local lawmakers are taking action. Last week, the County Council approved legislation to cut back on the rodents.
According to the bill, anyone applying for a permit to demolish, move or remove a building now needs to provide a statement from a certified pest control technician that the property is rat free.
The legislation now heads to the County Executive's desk. If he signs off, the new requirements will start March 20.
"It's just another safety that we can look at to make sure that we're trying to do everything we can to rid Baltimore County of a rat infestation," said Clark.