City sends out rat patrol to battle rodents around Ohio State

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 1, 2014 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

The city is sending its rat patrol to the University District to see whether too many rodents
have moved into the neighborhood filled with students and others.

Health officials could have found at least one this week — a flattened, 8-incher in the middle
of Indianola Avenue near E. Norwich Avenue.

“That’s huge, dude,” said Connor Mandalla, a 19-year-old Ohio State University sophomore from
the Cleveland suburb of Brecksville who lives on Indianola. “That’s disgusting.”

The last time the city looked for rats in the campus-area neighborhood was in 2008, during a
pilot program to control rats there, in the Short North and Downtown. The two-year program ended in
2008.

The decision to return was not complaint-driven, said Jose Rodriguez, a spokesman for Columbus
Public Health. Instead, the city is trying to be proactive. Thousands of Ohio State students
recently returned to the neighborhood and could have disturbed rats that live there, he said.

Two health department workers are walking through the neighborhood, searching for evidence of
rats. If they find any, they’ll leave educational materials with residents that tell them how to
eliminate food sources that attract rats.

The city budgeted $275,000 this year to address the rat problem, including paying a full-time
coordinator to oversee the program. The funding was put in place after Clintonville residents
complained.

The effort there seems to be working. Kristopher Keller, a Clintonville area commissioner, said
he knows of only two complaints about rats this past summer, far fewer than last year.

“It seems to be under control,” Keller said. “I think the education and working with the city
was really taken to heart by residents.”

That means preventing bird seed from falling to the ground, he said. And residents are no longer
leaving pet food outside and are better protecting their compost piles.

Last year, 34 percent of inspected properties in Clintonville showed evidence of rats. That
compares with 11 percent in South Linden , 5 percent in Harrison West and less than 3 percent in
North Linden.

Jennifer Adair, who leads the North Linden Area Commission, said the city didn’t survey many
households.

“I do know we have had complaints,” said Adair, who got rid of a compost pile that seemed to
attract rats.

Back in the University District, it’s not hard to see why rats are there. Outside the rental
property where Mandalla lives, trash cans were overflowing with garbage bags, pizza boxes and empty
beer cartons.

“Hopefully, we don’t see any rats in our house,” said Mandalla’s roommate, Danny Pushpak, 19,
also an OSU sophomore from Brecksville.

After Columbus Public Health finishes in the University District, inspectors will head to
Franklinton, where area commission leader Judyth Box said she has heard no complaints.

But not for a lack of rats.

“Franklinton people know it is part of life,” Box said. “They put out some traps, and we won’t
hear about it.”

mferenchik@dispatch.com

@MarkFerenchik

Article source: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/09/30/Rat-patrol-in-campus-area.html

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