Neighbors upset over woman feeding rats

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A neighbor may be to blame for a rat problem in one neighborhood (KTRK)

A neighborhood has a bit of a rat problem, and it appears a woman wanting to feed the birds and squirrels may be to blame.

Kellie Nightingale said her family moved into their South Salem, Oregon home last year and things were fine at first, but then came the constant squeaking.

"The rats will be squeak, squeak, squeak and they'll be running around, chasing each other on the bank and going into their holes," said Nightingale.

Nightingale said last fall she started noticing rats going under her neighbor's gate and saw dried corn overflowing in a bird feeder. Nightgale claims the food in her neighbor's yard attracted the rats.

The rats have dug holes in Nightingale's yard and tunnels under her deck - and left a considerable amount of rat droppings.

"It's gross. It's disgusting," she told KOIN 6 News. "I don't like having my kids in my yard, you know, with rats running around."

Neighbors say the rat holes and tunnels are now creating an erosion problem in the neighborhood.

Nightingale contacted the City of Salem about the rats and the food in her neighbor's yard. The public works department responded and eventually asked for more help.

Code enforcement supervisor Patrick Long told KOIN 6 News the situation qualifies as a public nuisance, which could mean court and a fine for the homeowner providing the food.

"I've been doing code enforcement for 15 years," Long said. "I haven't seen a rat infestation problem to that extent."

A code enforcement officer spoke with the homeowner last week. She agreed to clean up any food on the ground. She claims she only wanted to feed the birds and squirrels.
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