5 On Your Side

Rats! Man Seeks Help to Rid Home of Rodents

Posted June 11, 2007
Updated June 12, 2007

— Rich Martin said his house and yard are overrun by rats. But he can't get anyone to solve the problem, so he called 5 on Your Side.

"They came into my home at night. Whole loaves of bread were missing," Martin said. "I think they're disgusting. They make my skin crawl."

A trashed, overgrown field down the street from his home is a major part of the rodent problem, he said. He took a video at dusk that showed rats scurrying throughout the vacant lot.

Martin said he has tried repeatedly to find someone to help take care of the problem. But city inspectors, animal control officers and real estate agents also pointed him in a different direction, he said.

"I just want whoever is responsible for this to be responsible and clean it up," he said.

So, Martin called 5 on Your Side, which got the Durham City/County Department of Neighborhood Development to send a warning letter to the owner of the overgrown lot.

The property owner was given 15 days to clear it, or the city would clean it up and send the owner the bill.

A worker who said he was hired by the property owner mowed the lot Monday.

But that's only part of the solution.

A Durham County Health Department employee said that, to get rid of rats, trash and food sources, such as dog food, need to be cleared from the neighborhood.

The health department can't poison the rats -- if the poison gets into the wrong mouths, the county could be legally liable -- but officials said they would meet with Martin, his neighbors and the lot owner to help them devise a rat removal plan.


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  • unclady Jun 13, 2007

    My heart goes out to you, I do think it will take more than mowing the lawn to get rid of the rats, they multiply ever 52 days and grow very fast and then they have babies and so on and so on...I use to live in New York and EVERYTHING had to be kept in the fridge...rats can crew through peanut butter tops to get to the peanut butter...being single I just started keeping even my dishes in the fridge and then I just bought paper plates and would just throw everything away after I finished with them...I had to take trash out daily! and this only control the rats, not get rid of them..

  • Jokers Wild Jun 13, 2007

    Nifong and Mangum Exterminating Company sounds good for the job!

  • ladyblue Jun 13, 2007

    We were looking for a job for nifong. Sounds right daown his alley Durham's rat man can't say he doesn't have experience for this job. Miss mangum could be his secretary at the rat field.

  • Juliett Jun 13, 2007

    Your right freeatlast, we had a huge fat black snake in our barn, no rats.

  • Free at Last Jun 13, 2007

    Black snakes will solve this problem.

  • bostonfox1 Jun 12, 2007

    get some cats

  • THE ETERNAL Jun 12, 2007


  • Sound Man Jun 12, 2007

    Gatsby - apparently you have never owned a Jack Russell. There is not a rat (4legged) alive that they can't handle. I will guarantee that if someone took about say four JR to this lot there would be no rats left within a couple of hours. I have one that will attack big squirrels and when she catches them the squirrel does not have a chance. All I know is I don't have a rat or mouse problem where I live, and the squirrels stay in the trees!

  • Gatsby Jun 12, 2007

    Sounds like a job for a Jack Russell?? Have you seen the video of these rats? They would EAT Jack Russell in his sleep. Nice to see the fellow got great customer service from The City of Durham though. He pays their salary but it takes five on your side to get action. Only in Durham...

  • Rabid Wolf Jun 12, 2007

    Had to go somewhere after Pizza Hut closed.