Rat Infestation Could Lead To Citations

UPDATED: Thursday December 19, 2013 7:30 AM

The Columbus Public Health Department concluded a study about a rat problem in Clintonville.
The department says the rats are attracted to trash, dog food and bird seed.
For three years, rodents have burrowed beneath Ellen Echenrode's yard. They leave holes and wreaking havoc.
"You started flooding the holes. That didn't seem to work and then the problem got worse and worse and worse," said Echenrode.
While Ellen was flooding holes, the health department was getting flooded with complaints about rats in Clintonville. The health department put together a team to check 50 blocks in two zip codes.
"Came up with about 34% of their properties had evidence of rat activity, pretty high," said the health department's spokesperson, Jose Rodriguez.
Where they came from is unknown, but why they stick around is the problem to be tackled.
"There's all kinds of sources of food, eliminating those sources are critical to eliminating rats," said Rodriguez.
Rats thrive on trash, other animals' feces and any sort of food lying around.
"People are filling the bird feeders and putting the corn out at night for the squirrels. Well, the rats continue to eat there," said Echenrode.
The health department is trying to educate people about doing their part to make the rats go away. They took out ads in the local paper and sent out mailers to residents.
The health department plans to revisit properties in January where they found the evidence of rats.
"If they're not resolved, we have the option of writing orders that would give the resident 21 days to comply," said Rodriguez.
"If people would just not do it for six months to a year, maybe they would just all go away and we wouldn't have to worry about it," said Echenrode.
The health department is starting a new program in 2014. There will be two people dedicated to surveying areas with rat sightings and coming up with a plan to get rid of them.

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