Rats infest east Hamilton street

A rat infestation has invaded an east Hamilton street — and residents are blaming an unusual source. Because of that “apparent” source — they want the city to exterminate the problem. But officials aren’t buying the story — or any rat traps.

Sy Crocker: “We’re seeing rats upon rats. We’re catching rats.”

For the past week, Selkirk Avenue residents have been losing sleep over a growing rat problem.

Sy said: “The gentleman down here, he’s after catching four. The next door neighbour’s after catching two in their house.”

They say these are some of the smallest they’ve found. They believe the rodents came from the now city owned City Motor Hotel that was demolished last fall.

Sy said: “It was dirty, it was scummy. Where else would they come from?”

Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla says the suggestion is illogical and there’s no way any pests from the defunct hotel could have survived the winter before infesting Selkirk homes: “There’s no food source at the city motor, or water source for that matter. They’re probably travelling from the Red Hill area and the creek particularly.”

No matter where the rats came from, residents want the city to step in and set traps.

Councillor Merulla: “We provide 260 services, but that’s not one of them.”

Public health plans to hand out pamphlets, educating home owners on how to evict their new tenants. But not before some residents pack up and leave themselves. At least one woman has temporarily moved out of her rat infested home.

The rat problem may have something to do with the recent rainy weather. High water levels can force the rodents out of their nests near creeks and into residential areas. Councillor Merulla is cautioning all residents, not just those on Selkirk, to be especially careful about leaving food and standing water outside.

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