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San Francisco woman breeding and releasing rats

Published On: May 30 2014 07:09:04 PM CDT
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -

Authorities in San Francisco say their hands are tied when it comes to stopping a woman who has been breeding hundreds of rats in her home and then releasing them into public parks.

Animal Care and Control Captain Denise Bongiovanni told KTVU-TV  that the woman - a 43-year-old known as "Erica J." - is believed to have unresolved mental health issues and that her behavior could endanger her own health as well as that of the public because some rats carry diseases and parasites.

The station obtained video shot in 2011 showing the woman's room at a residential hotel packed with dirty clothes and other items, with dozens of rats scampering about and tunneling through the piles.

Bongiovanni says the department has adopted out some of the tame rodents and exterminated sick or feral ones over the years.