Richard Reynolds, the man who helps lead rat hunts using pet dogs in New York City, has a message for his critics at PETA who he said accused him of participating in a “blood sport.”

“PETA’s was of the opinion this was nothing more than a blood sport masquerading as rodent control,” Reynolds told TheBlaze last month. “It kind of defeated their purpose when I agreed with them.”

Reynolds said PETA made the statement after a New York Times reporter brought the hunting activities of his club, R.A.T.S. (Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society), to the attention of the organization in 2013.

Reynolds said the rat hunts are actually adored by most human citizens of New York City who are grateful for any relief from the scourge of millions of rodents.

“We are kind of universally well-liked,” Reynolds said. “We get standing ovations.”

Watch NYC Rat-Hunting Dogs in Action (ft. Mike Rowe)

PETA, for its part, released a statement to TheBlaze Friday slamming Reynolds and calling the hunts illegal.

“Setting dogs upon rats is depraved, sadistic, and illegal,” the statement said. “It constitutes an explicit violation of New York’s anti-cruelty laws, violators of which face up to 1 year in jail.

“It would also directly violate animal fighting laws, violators of which face up to four years in prison and $25,000 in fines,” the statement continued. “We encourage anyone who witnesses any such activity to report it to the ASPCA immediately.”

But Reynolds said that among the various efforts from the city to shrink the rodent population, the dog hunts are among the most humane because their canines are trained to kill the rats instantly.