Neighbors concerned over rat-infested nuisance home in Westbury area

October 9, 2012 4:43:07 PM PDT
Neighbors want the city to step in over a house infested with rats, cats and roaches. The homeowner has received multiple citations for the conditions, which his neighbors say seem unlivable.

Numerous city agencies including the Houston Police Department, BARC and the Department of Neighborhoods are now involved in this investigation that was brought to our attention by some of that homeowner's neighbors off Burdine in a Westbury subdivision.

When we arrived to look into the conditions of the home last week, we were taken back. And this week, after numerous citations have been issued, very little has changed.

"There is a lot of stray and feral cats around and now it has progressed into rats," said neighbor Lisa Wright.

A severe infestation of rats, bees, roaches and stray cats prompted some homeowners who live near the house to be concerned about their health and the conditions one Houston man is living in.

"What we are concerned with is the rats crawling all around," Wright said.

"Now I see the bees and I saw a picture of the rat. This is ridiculous. This is a health issue," said neighbor Diane Larson.

According to HPD Captain Wyatt Martin, police were called to the property a month ago. Since then, they have issued a number of citations to the homeowner.

"In a case like this, our job becomes not only trying to address the quality of life for the residents and neighbors who live nearby, but we also want to address the quality of life and the safety of the homeowner himself," said Capt. Martin.

Last week, when we first made contact with the homeowner, he talked to us through the door about the rats and other pests in the home.

"I do live here," the homeowner told us. "There are some rats inside this house and I'm trying to poison them, but I have to be careful where I put the poison because I don't want to kill the cats."

According to Chris Newport with the City of Houston, different departments within the city have also issued the homeowner several citations including causing a congregation of stray cats outside of his home by feeding them.

"The homeowner would just dump cat food onto the car and the time of one of our visits the homeowner actually admitted to doing that," said Newport.

On Tuesday, the home has been cleaned up on the outside, but according to the neighbors the pests inside the home are still making their way onto their properties.

"Roaches. They get into our house," said one neighbor who didn't want to be identified.

She says she fed up with the mess.

"I have to shield my kids from it. I try to tell them just don't look or I try to explain what might be going on, but it's really hard to explain to your kids why there are rats running around," she said.

The Westbury Civic Club has also been notified about the nuisance home and says they are also taking the necessary steps to get the home cleaned up and want neighbors to know they are working on the problem.

"To be patient because everything takes time and some problems can be solved very quickly, but unfortunately some things like this one do take longer," said Jennifer Edmondson with the WCC.

According to HPD, the homeowner is cooperating with them and this Friday they will be back out to assess the property once again. They also told us that Adult Protective Services has been notified for the homeowner's safety. But again, this will be a lengthy process for everyone involved.


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