On any given Friday night in Lower Manhattan, the peskiest rats are being sought by Richard Reynolds and his self-proclaimed rag tag bunch.
"The night they put out the trash, the rats come out to feed," said Reynolds. "We know where to find them."
Reynolds and his crew of rat-hunting dogs know they'll never rid the city of rats, but the exercise helps the group of Norfolk and other terriers to reconnect with their past and discover their purpose. Some were bred for ratting, and were used to hunt vermin hundreds of years ago.
"It's exercise for the dog, and it's proof we have the working gene as a part of our breeding program for these dogs," said Reynolds. "They'll do what they were bred to do a long time ago."
Reynolds said the chance of the dogs acquiring poison or disease the rats may have in their system is minimal.
"The dogs don't eat the rats, they simply dispatch them," he said. "The odds of a dog acquiring any significant amount of poison is almost non-existent."
The rats are fast and they can scurry. At the end of the night, it's no contest: Rodents win this rat race by more than a whiskey. But Reynolds stressed it's not about the pests, it's about the pets.
If you have rats in your neighborhood, the folks at Rat Hunters NYC will bring their dogs along at no charge. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.