Residents want rats out of neighborhood

CHERRY HILL, N.J. - September 7, 2010 The rats started showing up a couple of years ago, but now there seems to be a population explosion.

Rat infestations are commonly an inner city problem, but hungry rats know no boundaries.

The county health department says they appear to be using a stream bed and storm sewers as a rat super highway.

It's bad enough that Rob Irwin armed himself.

"I went out and purchased a b.b. gun and I would sneak up on the fence and just kind of look over and when I saw one 'boom' there it went."

So far he's nailed three of them. Others have tried to trap them. Marlene Meloni's husband borrowed a trap from a friend and set it up in their back yard. They first spotted a rat in their yard in June.

"I was studying and thinking is that really what I think it is, is it a possum is it a mole but it was definitely a rat."

Things got so bad at the Bowers' house they called in an exterminator who set up rat trap in and around their backyard shed. So far, they've caught seven.

"It seems like it's the entire neighborhood, it's been going on for 2 years, I've called the health department and I also called the township and they came out and took a look and told us what to do but I don't see it getting any better," said Michele.

Cherry Hill recently had workers flush the storm drains, but the rats keep coming. The Camden County Health Department has conducted a survey and has recommended that the township hire an exterminator. A spokesman for Cherry Hill says they have one on call and the work will start immediately.

Residents say the sooner the better because they are afraid to let their kids play outside.

"I need some satisfaction here I need to know that this is going to be addressed," said Marlene.

Residents have been careful to remove potential food sources, but the rats are finding something they like about the neighborhood. They'll soon be feasting on poisoned bait.

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