Approximately 44% of all households across the U.S. have a dog. These four-legged friends are great companions, are fun to hang with, and can truly be part of a family. Unfortunately, there are plenty of four-legged creatures that aren’t so friendly and adorable.

Rodents are lurking all over the country, even in major cities — especially in major cities. In fact, rat-related animal nuisance calls have significantly increased in recent years. In Chicago, rodent-related calls increased by 61%. In New York City, rodent emergency calls skyrocketed an unbelievable 129%.

It might seem like New York City, where the average sales price for a Manhattan condo was $1.9 million during the third quarter of 2017, wouldn’t have to worry about rodents. Don’t these creatures spend all their time in wooden areas, anyways? Sadly, that’s not the case at all; and rats, hamsters, squirrels, and the more than 2,200 species of rodents actually thrive in concrete environments like New York City.

For years, the number of rats in NYC was unknown, and an urban legend declared there were up to five times as many rats as people — yuck! That was disproved in 2014, however, after scientists more accurately determined that there are only 2 million rats in New York City. Only 2 million rats. Considering something as small as termites causes over $5 billion in property damage every year, just imagine the costs related to all those rats.

According to PIX 11, despite there being an ‘A’ Sanitary Grade sign in the window of a Manhattan Just Salad establishment, four rodents have been spotted inside the store.

“This location is underground in a concourse area prone to mice activity,” said Kick Kenner, Just Salad CEO and Founder. “Rodent activity has been a struggle for the concourse area in general. We have never had this type of issue at any other location in our 10+ years in business and have A’s at every single location.”

Additionally, FOX 5 reports that the New York City Parks Department has recently been forced to warn city residents and visitors to not feed the wildlife.

Currently, park visitors are allowed to feed birds, squirrels, and other wildlife, but if the Parks Department’s proposal is passed, there won’t be any more wildlife feeding going on inside the parks.

Lastly, following some health inspections, a few now infamous rodents have been spotted inside President Donald Trump’s Manhattan and Bronx restaurants.

According to NY Daily News, mice were found in the kitchen, along with broken sewage systems and other health code violations at a number of Trump-branded restaurants in the city.

Sadly, U.S. roads are still incredibly dangerous because drivers, despite knowing the consequences, are getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. In the U.S., a person is injured or worse in a drunk driving accident every two minutes.

In New York City, a place where many people rely on walking, ride hailing services, and public transport rather than driving their own vehicles, drunk driving remains a serious problem, as well.

In 2013, out of 8,368 reported alcohol-related NYC accidents, 358 were fatal crashes. Impaired driving was actually responsible for as much as 35% of all NYC auto accident fatalities. All across NYC, drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians are at risk of losing their lives due to impaired drivers. Something needs to be done.

Here are some NYC strategies being put in place to reduce or prevent drunk driving:

  • Drunk driving legislation
  • Sobriety checkpoints
  • Ignition interlocks
  • Multi-component interventions
  • Mass media campaign
  • School-based instruction programs

Though more legislation, sobriety checkpoints, and organizations spreading awareness certainly helps, it is the individual’s responsibility to never drive after consuming alcohol. Here are some great life-saving alternatives to getting behind the wheel after a few drinks:

  • Get a designated driver — You should always have a designated driver before you go out drinking. If you and your friends regularly go out for a few drinks, take turns being the DD that night. That way, you and everyone you’re with will get home safely. If there isn’t someone in your party willing to not drink, consider renting a limo or party bus. Although nearly 50% of limousine services during the week are provided for business and corporate events, you should be able to enlist limo services when you and your friends go out at night.
  • Ride a bike — There are roughly one billion bicycles in the world — about twice as many motor vehicles. You still need to be careful while on a bike, obviously, but you’ll be much safer biking on the sidewalk than driving a motor vehicle.
  • Sleep it off — No matter where you are, you’ll be able to find a safe place to rest for at least a few hours while you sober up. If you don’t know anyone nearby, simply book a hotel room for the night and rest.

Drunk driving remains an epidemic but people are working tirelessly to fight this problem every day. It’s time to do your part and never get behind the wheel in NYC or anywhere in the world after you’ve been drinking.

Data centers are hot right now. As society becomes more dependent on technology, more cloud storage space and computing power is needed to ensure businesses continue to meet consumer standards; since their own systems can’t possibly keep up (the power density of a data center is 100 times more than that of a large commercial office building) they outsource their needs to massive data center facilities all across the world.

Usually, the only thing data centers need to worry about is the effectiveness of their cooling methods. For one center, however, a lone deer became the main problem. DEFCON Furs, a group that usually organizes events and parties for DEFCON attendees who are also interested in furry culture, posted several videos of a deer running rampant in a data center to Twitter in late January.

“Breaking Mews,” the tweet said, “Just when you thought it was going to be routine Monday night 2 am server maintenance… The Venison Red Team gets past your fancy guards and biometrics.”

Apparently, the terrified animal had broken through the wall of the data center, making it as far as the server control room before animal control was called. DEFCON Furs later discovered the location of the center, but were unable to reveal specifics beyond that it was in North America.

Although deer aren’t very common in data centers, the expensive, technologically-equipped warehouses do often suffer from animal break-ins. Squirrels, in particular, have been known to cause incredible amounts of damage: it’s been estimated that the rodents are responsible for approximately 17% of all data center cable damage annually. The little menaces are excellent chewing machines and will chew their way through everything — from fiber-optic cables to live power lines.

Fortunately for our dear old deer friend, the four-legged mammal suffered no injuries:

“It was fine, ran out and rejoined its friends,” the furry hacker collective stated. “The police and animal control made sure it was OK before letting it run down the hall and out the steps. I think she was good.”

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak, is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service throughout the United States (and nine cities in Canada). Though Amtrak mainly deals with transport, they also focus on safety.

The U.S. fencing market is projected to reach $11.5 billion by 2024. According to Hudson Valley 360, Amtrak originally proposed a plan to install 8,000 feet of fencing along the Amtrak railway, running from Albany to New York City, citing safety concerns for pedestrians. However, in order to allow more time for revisions, Amtrak has withdrawn its application to install the safety fencing along the Hudson River.

The fencing project was proposed in Rhinebeck and Tivoli in Dutchess County and Stockport and Stuyvesant in Columbia County. If the original proposal is approved by the Department of State, these towns in both Dutchess and Columbia counties would undergo restrictions when it comes to accessing the Hudson River waterfront. Though these restrictions could prevent water-related injuries, it could severely impact communities that count on the Hudson River as an economic asset.

“At Amtrak, the safe operation of service for our customers, employees and the public is top priority,” stated an Amtrak spokesperson. “We will continue to work towards providing the safest, reliable and most efficient passenger rail service along the Hudson Line.”

Amtrak’s plans will now be reviewed in conjunction with a five-year-corridor plan to improve safety along the company’s Empire Service Hudson Line.

The Germantown Waterfront Advisory Committee meets every month and plans on spreading awareness about the importance of waterfront access. Additionally, the committee plans on reaching out to state assemblywoman Did Barrett, D-106 and state Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-43, who were both already looking at New York State laws encouraging a rails-with-trails system, which provides safe transportation networks for both bicyclists and pedestrians along the railroad tracks.

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