Dearborn Heights residents complaining of rats in their neighborhood

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 1, 2013 in Rat Answers | Subscribe

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Paletko said the ordinance officers have responded to to Stewart’s requests and are at her house weekly. He said the vector program, which was supposed to start this past winter, has been delayed because the person who was going to run it didn’t pass a necessary test.

“That has caused major difficulty in implementing the particular program,” Paletko said.

Stewart said blighted homes and trash left sitting out in yards are the main source of the problem.

According to the Wayne County Health Department, long-term control of rat populations can only be achieved if food and harborage are removed.

Proper garbage and rubbish storage are the most important factors in preventing and eliminating rats. If rats do not have food or shelter, they will move on.

Rats can climb brick or stucco; reach vertically 18 inches; jump vertically 3 feet; squeeze through a half-inch hole, climb horizontal and vertical wires; jump horizontally 4 feet; swim up floor drains and sewer lines and swim through a toilet bowl trap; survive on pet food and animal droppings; and gnaw through wood, electrical wires, cinder block and some metals.

Rats will eat all types of things including pet food, garbage, food scraps in composts, fallen fruit and nuts, bird seed and animal droppings.

Experts suggest that cans with tight-fitting lids are essential because plastic bags are not rat proof. They suggest residents not leave excess pet food sitting out, make sure to clean up bird seed from the ground and remove all sources of shelter by getting rid of junk and large rubbish items, cutting weeds and grass, storing lumber on racks that are at least 18 inches above the ground and clean dog pens weekly, or daily if rats are present.

Stewart wants the city to find a way to clean up the blighted houses residents are neglecting.

“I’m afraid to set my dog out in the backyard at night,” Stewart said. “Quite frankly I am afraid to go in my own backyard because I don’t know what’s going to pop up out of one of those holes.” Continued…

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DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Residents from one neighborhood attended the last City Council meeting asking for something to be done about rats in their area.

Caroline Stewart, president of the Southwest Dearborn Heights Neighborhood Association, said there are infestations rats in her neighborhood and, despite frequent complaints, the city hasn’t done enough to fix the problem.

“Something has to be done,” Stewart said. “The residents of Dearborn Heights shouldn’t have to live in fear for themselves, or someone else, getting bitten and becoming sick because of this infestation. It affects the quality of life for all residents … nothing is being done about it.”

Mayor Daniel Paletko said he and the ordinance officers have done all they can to try to control the rat population.

Paletko said he has been in discussion with Stewart since last July. He said he has been to most of their association meetings and has heard their concerns and is trying to address them.

The city is currently revising the ordinance department and including a more comprehensive vector control component, but Stewart said that program isn’t enough.

Under the new program the city will add up to four more ordinance officers cross-trained in animal/vector control.

“Your program doesn’t change anything,” she said.

Paletko said he is committed to getting the the vector program going.

Stewart said she calls the mayor’s office or emails several times a day reporting rats and blight.

Paletko said the ordinance officers have responded to to Stewart’s requests and are at her house weekly. He said the vector program, which was supposed to start this past winter, has been delayed because the person who was going to run it didn’t pass a necessary test.

“That has caused major difficulty in implementing the particular program,” Paletko said.

Stewart said blighted homes and trash left sitting out in yards are the main source of the problem.

According to the Wayne County Health Department, long-term control of rat populations can only be achieved if food and harborage are removed.

Proper garbage and rubbish storage are the most important factors in preventing and eliminating rats. If rats do not have food or shelter, they will move on.

Rats can climb brick or stucco; reach vertically 18 inches; jump vertically 3 feet; squeeze through a half-inch hole, climb horizontal and vertical wires; jump horizontally 4 feet; swim up floor drains and sewer lines and swim through a toilet bowl trap; survive on pet food and animal droppings; and gnaw through wood, electrical wires, cinder block and some metals.

Rats will eat all types of things including pet food, garbage, food scraps in composts, fallen fruit and nuts, bird seed and animal droppings.

Experts suggest that cans with tight-fitting lids are essential because plastic bags are not rat proof. They suggest residents not leave excess pet food sitting out, make sure to clean up bird seed from the ground and remove all sources of shelter by getting rid of junk and large rubbish items, cutting weeds and grass, storing lumber on racks that are at least 18 inches above the ground and clean dog pens weekly, or daily if rats are present.

Stewart wants the city to find a way to clean up the blighted houses residents are neglecting.

“I’m afraid to set my dog out in the backyard at night,” Stewart said. “Quite frankly I am afraid to go in my own backyard because I don’t know what’s going to pop up out of one of those holes.”

Paletko said the city would likely need court action in order to enforce property clean up, and right now the city doesn’t have an ordinance that would allow them to enter private property.

Resident John Davidson, an ordinance officer in Dearborn, said officers there do have authority via an ordinance to enter to investigate rat complaints, but they can’t put poison down without permission.

Council Chairman Kenneth Baron said he wants city attorney Gary Miotke to look into drafting an ordinance, or give an opinion, stating the city can enter yards without permission if it is regarding public safety.

Baron said council will discuss it more and come up with additional solutions.

“I promise you that we’ll talk about it and we’ll do something,” he said to Stewart.

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