District officials will meet with counterparts from Maryland and Virginia to discuss the threat of rodents relocating from D.C. to neighboring states, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office said Monday.
"Mayor [Vincent] Gray has agreed to convene a meeting within the next three months among representatives from the District, Virginia, Maryland and Congressman [Frank] Wolf's office," Cuccinelli said. "I want to thank the mayor for his willingness to discuss the concerns his neighbors have."
Earlier this month, Cuccinelli set off a media firestorm when he alleged during a radio interview that a little-known D.C. law -- the Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 -- could force District animal control companies to dump trapped rats into Maryland and Virginia. Conservative radio pundit Rush Limbaugh also mentioned the law, authored by D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh, on his broadcast, and scores of angry emails flooded Cheh's inbox.
The law, though, exempts most rodents from its purview and allows companies to pursue four options with animals they've trapped, including relocation -- but only with the property owner's permission -- and euthanasia.
Still, the public spat also prompted Maryland Del. Pat McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican, to draft legislation barring the relocation of D.C. rats to his state.
"This insane law obviously places Maryland and Virginia at risk for an invasion of out-of-state rodents," McDonough said. "We must protect our borders."
Even a temporary flow of rats, McDonough's office warned then, could have lasting consequences.
"The rats multiply at astronomical rates and the rodents who have crossed the border into Maryland must be made illegal because they can produce large numbers of anchor babies," a news release from McDonough's office said.
Details of the planned meeting remained unclear. Cuccinelli's spokesman, Brian Gottstein, said he wasn't sure whether the attorney general would attend the meeting himself or send an intermediary.
Doxie McCoy, a spokeswoman for Gray, said that mayoral aides -- not Gray himself -- agreed D.C. would host a gathering to discuss Cheh's measure and other relevant regional issues with representatives from Virginia and Maryland. McCoy said District officials were still finalizing arrangements for the meeting, but she said there was only a "slim" chance Gray would participate.