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A Vancouver mayor once paid people to bring dead rat ears to City Hall

There wasn't a rat problem at the time
Mayor Tom Campbell put a bounty on rats in Vancouver in 1967

Vancouver’s mayor once paid people 25 cents for every pair of actual rat ears that they brought to city hall.

It was mayor Tom Campbell, and the year was 1967.

Campbell was an audacious mayor who notoriously hated hippies. He did and said a lot of stuff that might be considered off-colour by today's standards.

One day he decided he was going to offer a bounty on rats even though the rat population wasn't a problem and you'd be hard pressed to even find one here.

He did it simply because he wanted to outdo the mayor of Chester, Pennsylvania, who was able to get his citizens to collect a dozen rat tails in the span of a month.

Vancouver's then-mayor first offered 15 cents per pair of ears but nobody brought any in, so he increased it by a dime.

The first person to claim the 25-cent bounty was a 16-year-old baseball pitcher named Donna.

As she told it to a reporter for the Vancouver Sun, she threw a rock at the rat which stunned it, then her brother “finished it off with a stick.”

She cut the rat’s ears off with her dad’s jackknife, wrapped them in tin foil, then brought them to city hall to collect her reward.

It's unclear if the mayor paid her himself as this wasn’t official city business, or if he paid the bounty with taxpayer funds.

Regardless, a few more rat ears trickled in over the next few days. The mayor then called off the bounty and made an official proclamation saying that Vancouver was rat free.

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