Vector control inspectors spend busy summer battling rats

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The seven field inspectors of the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department's rodent control program spend their days knocking on doors and throwing down bait, responding to a massive number of rat complaints.

L.C. Garth oversees the Rodent Control Office in Memphis, where field inspectors rarely have time to sit in their war on rats.

"Last year, we received a total of 7,000 complaints," Garth said. "We have seven inspectors who work 7000 complaints, so that's a lot of work."

And the size of the creatures can reach almost mythic size.

Some people have seen rats as big as dogs," Garth said.  "You know, that's what they say!"

Memphian Eula Burks blames an abundance of overgrown and abandoned properties for rat problems in her neighborhood.

"One morning I came in an saw a big 'ole rat in my house," she said.

It's the kind of place where rats love to live.

"It was a big one!" Burks exclaimed.

A neighbor down the street now has a citation for having a potentially rat infested yard filled with all sorts of junk.

"Most of times if you have a problem with rats, there's a reason you have a rat problem," Garth said.

The rodent control program was severely scaled back a few years ago, but is nearly fully operational once again.

Call 901-324-5547 with any rat complaints you may have in Memphis or Shelby County.

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