SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Have you ever actually seen a rat hole? Kellie Nightingale has.
She and her Salem neighbors said they see dozens of rats and rat holes up and down a stream bank which runs between homes.
“We’ll come out and the rats will be ‘squeak squeak squeak,‘ and they’ll be running around chasing each other on the bank and going into their holes.”
She laughed when she guessed how many rats are living behind her home. “Probably at least a hundred or so.”
The rats have dug holes in her yard and tunnels under her deck — and left a considerable amount of rat droppings.
“It’s gross. It’s disgusting,” she told KOIN 6 News. “I don’t like having my kids in my yard, you know, with rats running around.”
Nightingale said last fall she started noticing rats going under her neighbor’s gate. The neighbor told her “that her cats were working on it.”
But Nightingale later took a picture and saw dried corn overflowing in a feeder. The rats “were coming in and out of the gate right there.”
She contacted the City of Salem about the rats and the food in her neighbor’s yard. The public works department responded and eventually asked for more help.
Code enforcement supervisor Patrick Long told KOIN 6 News the situation qualifies as a public nuisance, which could mean court and a fine for the homeowner providing the food.
“I’ve been doing code enforcement for 15 years,” Long said. “I haven’t seen a rat infestation problem to that extent.”
A code enforcement officer spoke with the homeowner last week. She agreed to clean up any food on the ground. She also told KOIN 6 News she only wanted to feed the birds and squirrels.
For Kellie Nightingale, this is all a good sign.
“Hopefully that. combined with the HOA hiring a pest control company to take care of the problem, by this summer my kids and I can play in the yard.”