'Rat Girl' Won't Stop Breeding Rats & Unleashing Them Upon City

A 43-year-old homeless woman is making life a horror movie for people and police in San Francisco. Erica J., who is known as the "rat girl," is creating myriad public health problems by reportedly breeding hundreds of rats in a hotel where she is staying or under a pedestrian bridge where she sometimes sleeps and then either setting them free or being so lax about taking care of them that they have escaped and are wandering all over her neighborhood.

Can you even imagine?

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Cops say Erica has been feeding rats dog food and keeping them in her shopping cart or room for at least 3 years. Public officials discovered and were forced to either kill "thousands" of her rodents or adopt them out, they say, after finding them all over the neighborhood. Every time police confront the woman, she gives up her "pets," but the problem persists and it's believed Erica hides some of her rats when authorities question her. Plus, I'm guessing it's pretty darn easy to get your hands on two more rats in San Fran that you can breed.

Basically, police are at their wit's end and have no idea how to handle this horrific problem. And that's because the problem is so much greater than a lonely woman desiring companionship and the need to feel a connection with something. Erica is suspected of suffering from a mental disorder and, as a country, we aren't exactly pioneers when it comes to helping those who have psychological problems.

Even if cops were to lock up this woman and charge her with endangering the welfare of others, there are thousands of people out there who are exactly like Erica and are walking around cities, alone, suffering from untreated mental health issues. Sadly, most of us only choose to pay attention to their problems when their odd behavior -- literally -- affects us in our own backyards.

How do you think public officials should handle Erica and this rat problem?

 

Image via jo-marshall (was J-h)/Flickr

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