(NYC) New York City announced on Wednesday the appointment of its first “Director of the Rodent Reduction Program”, a City Hall department dedicated to culling millions of rats from the American megacity.

Kathleen Corradi’s appointment comes four months after the city posted a city job advertisement that said it was looking for a “bloodthirsty” leader.

According to a persistent urban legend, there are as many rats in New York as there are people, or nearly nine million. The famous English novelist Charles Dickens had already complained about it when visiting the city in 1842.

Rodents are regularly seen on the streets, on subway platforms, or in garbage cans in the “city that never sleeps”.

A rat rose to internet fame in 2015 when a video showed him running down the stairs of a subway station with a whole slice of pizza in his mouth.

“New York City may be famous for the ‘Pizza Rat’, but rats and the conditions that help them spread will no longer be tolerated: no more dirty sidewalks, abandoned spaces, or dug burrows brazenly,” Kathleen Corradi said in a statement.

This former teacher and waste management expert will be paid US$155,000 a year, according to the New York Times.

At the time of the job posting, Mayor Eric Adams, a tough ex-cop who wants to fight his city’s plagues, said, “There’s NOTHING I hate more than rats. “.

The “ideal candidate” for the job offer had to be “highly driven, quite bloodthirsty, and determined to look at all the solutions from various angles” but also have “determination and a killer instinct” for “the large-scale culling” of pests.

Spending millions of dollars, the municipality regularly tries new techniques to eradicate rats, such as dry ice or alcohol baths: this was presented in 2019, during an unsustainable demonstration, the mayor back in the borough of Brooklyn… already Mr. Adams.

And an association of Manhattan residents, called R.A.T.S, regularly organizes hunts with their dogs to kill as many rats as possible.