Moncton woman wants city's help with rat infestation

A Moncton woman whose dog was attacked by rats three times in a week is asking the city to help her get rid of the rodents that have infested her home.

Last straw for woman was the week rats attacked her dog 3 times

A homeowner in Moncton is asking the city to help with a rodent infestation. The city says it doesn't not have jurisdiction over private property. (Peter Pearson/flickr cc)

A Moncton woman whose dog was attacked by rats three times in a week is asking the city to help her get rid of the rodents infesting her home.

Raven Gauthier, who lives in the north end, said her dog Sky was bitten more than 12 times on her skull in one attack alone.

Gauthier said a veterinarian told her the rats transferred two different types of bacteria through their bites, one that required treatment with heavy-duty antibiotics.

"I actually wrote a letter to Moncton city council and I actually just completed a letter to [my] MLA as well," she said.

Raven Gauthier's dog Sky was injured by rats in multiple attacks. She wants the city to help address the rodent infestation. (Raven Gauthier)

The city's response was that it wasn't able to go onto a private property.

But Gauthier said that she researched the issue and found that if there is a nuisance problem, Moncton bylaws do give the city the right to enter private property.

She feels the city is partly to blame for Moncton's apparent rat problem, and it's taking the easy way out.

The city of Moncton, unlike many other places in the province, moved to a three-stream system, operated by Southeast Eco360, that sorts garbage, recyclables and compost.

City added composting

Eco360 aimed to improve the way garbage disposal was handled. 

It was originally a two-stream system, which included blue bags, for dry and recyclable items, and green bags for wet garbage and compost. The new three-stream system, which added clear bags for household, bathroom and non-food kitchen waste, started in October 2016. 

Green bags are picked up weekly, and clear bags and blue bags are supposed to alternate weeks. But resisdents say clear bags are often not picked up for weeks at a time, leaving a mess if not properly stored. 

The city has promised it will conduct inspections of homes and make recommendations for bylaw enforcement if required. 

But the city also says it's not responsible for a rat problem.

In an email to CBC News, the city wrote that rats and mice live in the environment people create for them. 

They'll eat anything

"They will eat almost any food stuffs, which can include bird and pet foods, vegetables stored in outdoor sheds, peelings that are added to open compost bins and household garbage that is not adequately secured," said spokesperson Isabelle LeBlanc. 

LeBlanc said rodents usually live within 15 to 45 metres of their food source and: 

  • Close to compost bins.
  • In woodpiles.
  • Under storage sheds and storage piles.
  • In non-maintained yard areas. 
  • In refuse storage areas.

But Gauthier said it's not her responsibility to make sure her neighbours are properly storing their garbage or compost. 

"Who am I to go to my neighbour and say get rid of your bird feeder," she said. "That's the city's job. Start patrolling. Start making people pick up their garbage. They don't want to do it? Send someone in and bill them."  

City says it lacks jurisdiction

Despite Gauthier's assertions, the city said it does not have jurisdiction on private property. 

"When something is noticed or a complaint is received regarding rodents on city property, we do have a process in place to resolve the issue," said LeBlanc via email.

Gauthier caught this rat in a trap. (Raven Gauthier )

LeBlanc did say the city was reviewing its procedures in relation rats and large construction projects and the demolition of abandoned and vacant buildings.

But she advised residents with rat problems to consult a pest control company.  

Not satisfied

Gauthier, who bought her property in 2010, is not satisfied with that response.

"They've said so many things in so many stories in the last few years but it always reflects back to the homeowner," she said.

"Start making people pick up their garbage, I don't know."

Gauthier said the current infestation is too big for a homeowner to deal with. Her next step is send her letter to her MLA.

With files from Karin Reid LeBlanc