Rat catcher who covers Leeds and Wakefield on the death threats and 'horrendous' abuse received over videos

A rat catcher who operates in Leeds claims he has received death threats and hate comments because of his job.
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Kieran Sampler, 29, founded a Facebook page called Yorkshire Rat Pack where he shares details of jobs he’s completed and supports other rat catchers.

But since he started it in 2018, he said that he’s received hundreds of hateful comments from hunting saboteurs who disagree with his job role and the videos he shares online of dogs killing the rodents.

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This included people threatening to kill his four-year-old daughter with a sledgehammer and wishing that his mum “dies a slow and painful death”.

Kieran Sampler with captured rats.Kieran Sampler with captured rats.
Kieran Sampler with captured rats.

But Kieran - who estimated to have killed around 50,000 rats in his career - says he ignores the messages and just “takes it with a pinch of salt”.

He said: "There's 67,000 people from all around the world who follow us on Facebook.

"There was somebody from Scotland who phoned me and told me he knows where I live and that he was going to stab me in the head.

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"With my company, my address is online so you do get people messaging you asking why I'm doing this but stuff needs to be controlled.

"I take my job very seriously because there's a lot of diseases that I can pick up."

Kieran Sampler uses a terrier dog to help him catch rats at homes around Leeds. Photo: Jonathan GawthorpeKieran Sampler uses a terrier dog to help him catch rats at homes around Leeds. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Kieran Sampler uses a terrier dog to help him catch rats at homes around Leeds. Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Kieran said that the abuse he’s received has been “horrendous in the last couple of weeks” and that he has reported it to the police.

He told the YEP: “You shouldn’t get death threats just from doing your job.

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“It’s not affected business as such but my wellbeing has been impacted. I’m concerned about getting messages like that in the long run. It’s just vile.”

After he founded the Facebook page, Kieran founded his own business called Vermicure Pest Control, which covers South and West Yorkshire.

Kieran Sampler has previously called on Leeds City Council to address the increasing number of rats in the city. Photo: National WorldKieran Sampler has previously called on Leeds City Council to address the increasing number of rats in the city. Photo: National World
Kieran Sampler has previously called on Leeds City Council to address the increasing number of rats in the city. Photo: National World

The dad-of-one said that he tries to kills the rats in the “nicest possible way”, adding: "We understand everything has got to live but rats have a lot of disease and they can cause a lot of things.

"With our job, they are there to be controlled and I don't go around killing everything - it's just not in me. It's a matter of preventing it.

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"There's a lot of rats on farms and they can't have poison down because of the cattle, so that's when they call me.

"We go in with the Terriers and that's the quickest method to be honest, it's only a couple of seconds and they are dead."

Kieran, who lives in Wakefield, avoids using traps because he says this traumatises them.

He instead has trained his two Lakeland Terriers Poppy and Penny to locate and kill the rats in the “most quickly and humane way possible”.

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Kieran said: "Some people use live traps but they are inhumane - if you trapped me in a cage then I would be pretty annoyed and feeling very uncomfortable. That's how the rodents feel and I don't believe in that.

"If you are going to control things - then you need to sort them out there and then and there's no stressing with it.

"We've trained the Terriers to locate, dispatch and kill in the most quick and humane way possible. Obviously we need to search and identify where the rats are and where there food source is from."

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