Under New York City's health code, deli and grocery store owners can be fined for having rats on the premises. But they also can be fined for having cats, a cheap and effective way to kill and repel rats:
The city's health code and state law forbid animals in places where food or beverages are sold for human consumption. Fines range from $300 for a first offense to $2,000 or higher for subsequent offenses.
"Any animal around food presents a food contamination threat," said Robert M. Corrigan, a rodentologist and research scientist for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
As The New York Times notes, "the fine for rodent feces is also $300." Bodega owners seem to prefer the company of cats.