Forced out by rats – Burnaby Now

A Burnaby woman whos been sleeping in a tent in her backyard with her 11-year-old son for the last week wants her neighbours to be mindful of attracting rats.

Teresa Anderson has owned her Edmonds area home for more than two decades. She tells the NOW that rats have been a problem in the community for years, with rats breeding out of nearby abandoned homes on 14th Avenue.

Theres a huge problem. You just stand outside and theyre walking in front of you. Its disgusting.

The rodents became a problem in the winter, Anderson adds, when they started to nest in the insulation underneath her floors.

We didnt even know. Then, in November, we started smelling something weird. I blamed it on my husbands riding gear.

An exterminator was called in, but no rats were caught.

Earlier this month, Anderson fell asleep upstairs and awoke to scratching in her attic.

Im staring at the wall, and all of a sudden, a rat from under my sons bedroom area ran down the stairs, she says. I went downstairs and told my husband, Move your car. I gotta get out of here.

For nearly three weeks, Anderson has been sleeping at friends houses, in her car, and most recently, in a tent she pitched in the backyard. One of her sons sleeps there, one sleeps at grandmas house and the other has been told to pack your bags and move into the tent.

Her husband, meanwhile, has taken time off from work to rip out the insulation in the floors.

Due to the smell of urine and fecal matter, the mother of three says shes developed a lung infection and has been put on inhalers and antihistamines.

The thing is, no one is affected here except me, says Anderson.

When she has to go to the bathroom, she says she has to put on a respirator.

Anderson is asking her neighbours to take a really good look at their properties, and make sure garbage isnt sitting out.

Gordon Stewart, Fraser Healths manager of environmental health services in Burnaby, tells the NOW there have been some reported sightings of rats in the Edmonds neighbourhood, but its nothing out of the ordinary.

In an urban area, were going to find rats, theres no surprise. What homeowners need to do is protect their property.

That includes eliminating food sources, he says, such as tending to fruit trees regularly and picking fruit whenever its ripe, to avoid it falling on the ground. The same goes with birdfeeders, and making sure seeds arent dropping down.

If theres bushes they can hide under, if theres woodpiles, if theres sheds, wood foundations, or if theyre concrete, theyve got cracks that rodents can go borrow in there, theyve got to eliminate those hiding and nesting places.

Stewart notes there is a rat baiting program in Burnaby. Folks who have a clean yard, dont have a garden, but still have rats, can contact Fraser Health. Other than that, he says the health authority does educate the public about what it can do to avoid rodent infestation by providing pamphlets and other materials.

Should a neighbour not keep their yard tidy, Stewart says the City of Burnaby does have an unsightly premises bylaw, where people not found in compliance can be fined.

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Forced out by rats – Burnaby Now

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