82-year-old Pasadena man who owns 25 cats blamed for resultant rat takeover in his neighborhood

Daniela Hurtado Image
Thursday, June 29, 2023
82-year-old Pasadena man's 25-cat ownership leading to rat infestation
Pasadena homeowner Vichien Kittiwanich was ordered to take significant steps to mitigate the rat infestation in his Thistledown Drive neighborhood.

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- Neighbors in one Pasadena neighborhood say there's a rat infestation.

Videos sent to Eyewitness News show multiple rodents roaming on the home and in the backyard of one neighbor. ABC13 was told by several surrounding neighbors that they've had to buy rat poison to prevent them from coming into their property. Others have said dead rats have been found in their yards.

Some neighbors said an 82-year-old homeowner has made the rats his pets, but he tells ABC13 that's just simply not the case.

So how did the rats get there in the first place, and why are they staying? Well, that seems to be a part of the mystery.

"Come at 9 o'clock at night, and you can watch the rat show," neighbor Brenda King said, telling ABC13 a red, two-story home on Thistledown Drive has a big rat problem. "Never in my life have I seen anything like this."

Several videos show a pack of rats in trees and others roaming on the neighbors' roof. Some neighbors believe the 82-year-old man is providing water and food for the rodents to keep them around.

"I don't feed the rats. My wife doesn't like rats at all. Nobody wants to feed the rats," that homeowner, Vichien Kittiwanich, said.

He said he's lived in his home with his wife for the last 44 years. He insisted he's never had this kind of problem and wishes his neighbors would've helped him instead of calling the health department and the media.

Neighbors said the stench and flies are a problem. According to them, this is an ongoing issue, and they fear this can't be healthy for the homeowners and everyone near them.

Kittiwanich calls himself an animal lover and owns 25 cats. He said he and his wife never had children and the cats are their family. He adds the cats and rats just simply don't mix and is adamant he's not keeping the rats as pets. He doesn't want them there either and wants the removal of the rodents to be humane.

"He said he doesn't want to kill them, but we don't want to live with them," King said.

On Tuesday, the City of Pasadena Health Department told Kittiwanich he must get a pest control inspection and treatment within 72 hours.

"Actually (I) have an agreement that they would come by (Wednesday)," Kittiwanich said.

The City of Pasadena told ABC13 he has until Monday to show significant progress in mitigating the rat infestation. It adds that the city is preparing their next steps if he does not comply.

He's also on the hook for his more than two dozen cats. He was told 21 of them will need to be adopted out and is in talks with animal control to help him.

The City of Pasadena provided this statement

"Representatives from our Health and Animal Control departments had a lengthy meeting this afternoon with the elderly homeowner of 3935 Thistledown. Compliance issues were discussed.

Based on the City code of ordinances, the homeowner has until Monday to show significant progress in mitigating the rat infestation.

In the interim, the city is preparing our next steps for an abatement process, should he not comply by Monday."

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