The strategy? Spring-loaded mousetraps.
The department had been using glue traps, where mice get stuck and can live up to 24 hours, to get rid of the rodent problem at 1 Police Plaza. On Oct. 12, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals received an anonymous complaint about the traps.
"We immediately conveyed our concerns to Police Commissioner Kelly and asked that they ban glue trap usage," Martin Mersereau, the director of PETA's emergency response division, said Thursday.
The department responded in November. Chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Thursday that the traps were replaced with two types of professional-grade traps PETA recommended, created to kill mice instantly. The department spends about $100,000 annually on extermination, using the Brooklyn-based company KingsWay, whose motto is, "We kill with skill."
"Someone ratted us out," Browne quipped. "But we made some changes. We got rid of thousands of glue traps."
The New York Times first reported the tale.
As a result, the animal rights group awarded the department and Kelly the Compassion Award, for the decision "to stop using cruel glue traps."
Mersereau cautioned the best way to get rid of rodents is to seal buildings and keep them clean. "Lest you find yourself in an endless kill cycle," he said.
A police employee made the rounds Wednesday at the brick headquarters at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, collecting old glue traps. The department headquarters houses the commissioner's office, internal affairs, criminal justice, and other offices. Some locations - for example, certain press room offices - have not yet been outfitted with new traps.