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Spencer investigating rat problem on South Iredell Street

SPENCER — Last week, the town received a complaint about a pack of large rats active around the 400 block of South Iredell Street.

Residents who spoke to the Post say the rats recently started to enter their homes and are plentiful enough to be seen wandering about in the open during the day.

“It’s been going on for a year, but it’s gotten so bad now they’re starting to come into the house,” said resident Charlene Gill.

Gill said rats started appearing on the back porches of her house and those owned by her neighbors. They also started turning up dead around the neighborhood.

“They’re not shy either,” Gill said, adding one rat she found on her porch did not seem bothered by her.

Gill said she drives through an alley every day to go to work and sees rats in the alley. One neighbor told her she sees them trying to get into garbage cans.

Lashonda Harris, another resident, echoed that the rats have been present in the neighborhood for a while, but recently she has found some in her house and spoken to neighbors who are also having problems. She found one in her toilet and saw another crawl behind her new oven.

“They’re going from one house to the next house to the next house,” Harris said.

Harris said she lost her job amid the COVID-19 pandemic and has had to take on the added expense of hiring pest control to deal with the problem in her home.

Code Enforcement Officer James Osborne said several residents recently approached him about the problem last week and he is actively investigating what’s causing the rat pack.

“I don’t know where they’re coming from, but apparently there’s some in that area,” Osborne said.

Osborne said rat problems would fall under town nuisance ordinances, but he does not have any physical evidence of an infestation yet.

“The town ordinances do cover dealing with mosquitoes, rats, snakes and that type of stuff,” Osborne said. “There are ordinances that cover those types of scenarios.”

Harris and Gill both pointed to a residence near them that seems to be a source for infestation. Osborne said residents who have complained also have pointed toward a specific home, but he hasn’t yet determined that property is responsible.

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