Prairie Twp. is infested with rats.
Franklin County Public Health officials say the number of complaints about rats in Prairie Twp. jumped from 11 in 2017 to 59 in 2018. There have been more than 20 complaints about rats so far this year.
One complaint from Alpine Village said rats had been seen walking back and forth from dumpsters and have been seen around trash cans.
“There are significant rat populations in both the commercial and residential areas north and south of West Broad Street just outside of I-270. Other areas of the township have the same conditions that support rat populations and are at risk of infestation if numbers of the rodents keep increasing in the area. Many areas surveyed offer rats abundant food sources and shelter,” Fink said.
Rats can spread a number of diseases directly and indirectly as well as cause significant damage to property, Fink said.
Fink said FCPH and working with the Prairie Township’s Zoning Department and township trustees to address the problem.
Officials hosted four Rat Prevention and Elimination Workshops in March and April for residents.
“Many residents are unaware that they may be encouraging rats to live on their property by not properly storing trash, not picking up after their dog and by everyday activities such as feeding the birds or gardening,” Fink said.
The workshops presented basic information about rats and tips on preventing rats from entering homes and businesses, how to safely trap and kill rats, and how to clean up after rats in order to prevent the spread of disease.
FCPH also made long term recommendations to the Prairie Township trustees to consider uniform trash and recycling pickup and to adopt a property maintenance code to remove those easy food sources and hiding spots.
“Rats are a community issue, not just an individual problem. Solving this issue will require everyone to do their part,” Fink said.
For more information, visit Franklin County Public Health’s website.