ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (WXYZ) - Some residents in St. Clair Shores are trying to get rid of rats.
"My neighbor said he saw a big black rat in my backyard. It's so scary," says Cheryl Harvener.
It's a problem that some residents say has gotten worse recently.
Greg Cortis says he has seen four or five rats in his yard in the last two weeks.
The demand for rat poison and bait houses has been so overwhelming at Gilbert's Hardware that employees are constantly restocking the shelves.
"In my 30 years of doing this, this has been the worst we've ever seen. We're now purchasing rat poison by the palette ... our last order was two palettes and bait boxes. It's out of hand," says Blair Gilbert, owner of Gilbert's Hardware.
The city of St. Clair Shores budgeted $100,000 this year for rat control and set up a hotline, but some residents say the city needs to do more.
City Manager Ben Hughes says the rat problem isn't city wide, but there are pockets where it's a serious issue.
He says the city is communicating with residents, but agrees that it is time to ramp up the public education efforts.
"We need the support of our residents also, to call in and give us approval to come into their bad yards and if they notice problem, we will respond quickly and efficiently," says Hughes.
"If the problem is not caused by your actions, we will assist you at no expense to you," says Hughes.
To speak with someone about a rat problem in St. Clair Shores, the city manager says you should call (586) 447-3399.
Experts say there are steps you should take to curb the rat problem:
- Pick up animal waste from your yard right away.
- Any dog food stored outside must be in animal proof containers.
- Don't feed the wildlife.
- Bird baths and fountains must be 3" or higher.
- Make sure trash cans have secure lids on them.