By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — The City Council discussed the possible addition of a vector control program during its meeting on Feb. 11 to address a rat problem in the city.
Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton proposed the idea to the council with a letter she sent to her colleagues. The letter suggested the addition of the program to help the community address its rat issues.
“Many residents have presented via phone calls, emails and other forms of communication, their challenges and experiences faced,” the letter read. “Residents are finding rats in yards, the streets, destroying vehicles’ wiring and more.”
In the letter, Hicks-Clayton also called for more enforcement on the Control of Infestation ordinance including pet waste removal, ground feeding and proper trash storage.
“Our residents can’t afford to wait and it is in the best interest for our community and our residents’ welfare,” she said in the letter.
Director of Ordinance Enforcement and Animal Control Jack Mclntyre said the city has vector control.
“When we get a call, we go out and look around the property and we ask the residents to pick up after their animal and store garbage properly,” he said. “We also see if they have a shed without a rat wall and if they have anything stored on the property.”
Mclntyre also said the department gives letters to other residents in the neighborhood explaining proper rat control and schedule a seven-day followup.
Hicks-Clayton said she wants to see the issue dealt with by the city instead of an outside company, but the city would need to get certified in order to do so.
“There has been 100 posts about the rat issues every week,” she said. “I suggested the use of abatement boxes interim until we can get the missing piece we need.”
Abatement boxes are filled with rat poison and are placed on property of residents with rat issues.
Residents started a petition in January to stop the rats and implement the vector control program, collecting 177 signatures.
“This is just a request for a bid,” Councilman Ray Muscat said. “We just want to know what it is going to cost.”
Caroline Staurt, president of the Southwest Dearborn Heights Neighborhood Association, voiced her current on the rat issue.
“This is so ridiculous,” she said. “It could’ve been done four years ago. I don’t want to see anybody’s children or animals or anybody get hurt because this city didn’t do something they should’ve done four years ago.”
At the end of the meeting the council members agreed to schedule a study session and talk about the issue before looking at possible bids.
Anyone who has issues with rats can call the Ordinance Department at 313-791-3497.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at email@example.com.)