At a recent council meeting the problem of rat infestation was met with concern when a Kawakawa Lake resident brought the issue of a pest problem in her own back yard to members.
“When we bought our home in Kawakawa Lake, we were not aware that we had a rat issue until we moved in and there was one in the garage,” said Julie Ballinger. “Since time has gone on that rat issue has gotten bigger and bigger, until this past year it cost me $690.”
Controlling the population has been increasingly difficult and expensive, causing frustration and potential health hazards for home owners in the area.
“It’s getting to be a big issue — I run into this person and that person and they are all telling me how many rats they’ve killed and their husbands have been in the backyard and they’ve killed 23 rats in one evening in our area and other areas, so we’ve got a problem,” she said.
Pest contributors have been persistent in the art of putting food out for birds at low levels, thereby attracting rodents who are sniffing around for an alternative food source.
“I phoned the district and the district has no real enforcement tools for someone who is persistently attracting pests,” said Mayor Wilfried Vicktor.
Scattering of the items that people are putting out is occurring due to bird traffic, rendering homeowners helpless as seeds, nuts, and other food stuffs are being dispersed onto their property, subsequently, attracting rodent pests.
“We’re sitting at that dinner table every day and looking at the rats and these people just don’t get it and we’re still dealing with it because they haven’t rectified that problem — once you’ve gotten them into your home, it’s very hard to get them out,” said Ballinger.
Council is currently looking into enforcing the correct tools to dissuade the persistence of people attracting rodents through negligent action.
“If we had the enforcement tools to utilize for someone who is showing a bit of an ignorant approach by continuing to attract pests — then it’s something for council,” said Vicktor.
Caught in the crossfire have been other scavenging critters.
“We woke up one morning to find this raccoon tied to a leg hold trap and screaming its heart out and my husband had to go and release this thing at five in the morning, while it was clawing — and it’s alerting all sorts of creatures,” said Ballinger. “The poor thing was dragging the trap along, up and down the fence and the homeowner wasn’t about to do anything, it was really pathetic.”
Council offered suggestion on solutions to ratify the unpleasant and unsanitary situation.
“I can do the research and get back to you — but I believe we need to modify some of our bylaws to include sanctions, or potentially provincial legislation related to healthcare. Those facilitating rats might actually be jeopardizing their neighbors and communities,” said John Fortoloczky, CAO for the District of Hope