Southgate residents gather to talk strategy in the war on rats

Mayor say personal responsibility is key
Posted at 10:18 PM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-29 08:38:09-04

Rebecca Sinn is at war-- and she doesn't believe in taking prisoners.

"I've tried poisons. I've tried electrocuting them. I've tried traps," Sinn said.

During a recent skirmish, she tracked the enemy with a night vision camera and then snuffed its life out with a coyote trap -- and that was being nice.

"Lately we've been resorting to other forms of killing," she said.

Such as?

"Uh, BB guns. That's the only way we can get rid of them."

Sinn is among a growing number of Southgate residents who have been fighting the war on rats for almost four years.

Many believe the Norwegian rat invaded the city when the state dug up sewer lines that haven't been exposed for decades. It was part of a multi-million dollar resurfacing of Fort Street.

Since then the enemy has grown in number. 

"We're worried now. I don't want something like this biting one of my grandkids," said Southgate resident Larry Massengill.

Residents gathered at the local library Wednesday night to talk strategy with city officials.  The mayor believes the best way to destroy the enemy is to starve them.

That means stronger code enforcement for trash disposal and yard upkeep.

"We'll never replace a property owner's responsibility. That's not what the city's for. But we certainly can partner
with the neighborhoods and create a situation where enforcement helps with the eradication of the rats," said Southgate Mayor Joseph G. Kuspa.