Task force weighs options to combat rat problem - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Task force weighs options to combat rat problem

The rat problem in Memphis and Shelby County is probably even worse than it seems according to Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland. The rat problem in Memphis and Shelby County is probably even worse than it seems according to Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland.

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The rat problem in Memphis and Shelby County is probably even worse than it seems according to Memphis City Councilman Jim Strickland.

Thursday night, the Memphis and Shelby County Rat Task Force held a town hall meeting to discuss the best way to combat these creepy critters.  

"I really do feel like this has to be addressed at a governmental level," said Danielle Schonbaum, who attended the meeting.

Schonbaum said she has spent thousands of dollars on private exterminators, but the rats always return.  She wants the Health Department to do more.

"I pay taxes - happy to do so - but this problem needs to be addressed," she said.

The Health Department's Vector Control already collects a 75 cent monthly fee from every MLGW rate payer to respond to mosquito and rat infestations.  

"But it's not making the Health Department an exterminator," Memphis City Council member Jim Strickland said. "It's not enough money to be an exterminator."

That's why the Task Force is considering raising the public's price for prevention.  In the meantime, Strickland hopes more citizens will report rats to the Health Department.

"Because the numbers don't show a real outbreak of rats, but from my conversations with people, I'm getting a different impression," he said.

There's no word yet on when the task force will issue its recommendations.   

You can report rats to the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department by calling 901-324-5922.

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