VAN NUYS (CBSLA) — Residents of a Van Nuys neighborhood overrun by rats said the owner of the property isn’t doing enough to stop the problem.
CBS2 News reporter Rachel Kim saw several rats in the trees and on the roof of the home located on the 16000 block of Wyandotte Street.
“At times, you’ll see up to 15 or 20, 25 running the roof in lines, like probably offspring,” said a neighbor who wanted to be identified only as “Jerry”, who added, “I’m pretty fed up.”
Some residents said they don’t let their children outside for fear of the rats, which can carry diseases including rabies and typhus.
“Number one concern is for my family’s health and the health of my kids and the health of all the immediate neighbors,” added Jerry. “Even the people living in the house, it just smells[…] like a dirty hamster cage.”
Jerry said he contacted the health department, who referred him to Vector Control. The agency told him they’ve sent letters to the owners in the past telling them how to rat-proof the property, but Jerry said the problem has only worsened.
Lisa, the house’s owner who did not want to reveal her last name, disputed residents’ claims.
“There’s no infestation when you’re talking about 10, 15 rats,” said Lisa. “There has been a rat problem in the community of Van Nuys, not even in this immediate neighborhood.
“Nobody has any proof. I mean, what’s proof? Do they have that it originated from our property?” chuckled Lisa, who claimed she never received a letter from Vector Control but that her neighbors did. She said she’s in the process of trimming the trees to help with the problem.
When asked about the many rats Kim witnessed, she replied, “I do not believe in purposely torturing animals or killing them when it’s absolutely not necessary, when there could be other methods that are humane, such as trapping and relocating.”
Vector Control was unreachable Monday, which was a work holiday.