Not everyone loves this idea. The Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have both noted that it's not very humane for the rats. There is a bit of worry that it's dangerous for the dogs, who could contract leptospirosis, a bacterial infection common in rats. Some also worry that the dogs could ingest rat poison that the rats themselves have eaten, but it hasn't been an issue so far. The dogs have suffered a few scratches and minor bites, but the team carries first aid supplies.
Ratting with dogs is not illegal in the city, and some are all for it. Residents are encouraged to contact R.A.T.S. if they notice an outdoor rat infestation sightings, and they do. There's no charge, though the group does note that "coffee, water and kudos are appreciated." They received the latter in 2017, when the group was honored by the Queens City Councilman Eric Ulrich for their work. The humans received commendations; the dogs were given bones and beef jerky.
For dogs outside the city who might like to do what they were born to do, there's barn hunt. In this sport, which became official in the United States in April 2013, the dogs track the rats over and around obstacles such as hay bales. The rats themselves are housed in aerated tubes so the dogs can smell and hear them, but they cannot kill them.