Here's where Windsor's 2,154 rat extermination calls came from last year
More than 2,100 calls were logged by the city in 2019, as residents hope to eradicate the rodents
For more than 40 years, Lynda Brien has lived in her home on Randolph Avenue just near the university's St. Denis Centre. But it's only been in the last ten years she's noticed a huge problem with rats.
"The last two rats that I [trapped] were the size of small rabbits — they were huge," said Brien, after offering a tour of the many rat holes which have popped up in her backyard since her last call to the city. "It doesn't matter what I do."
Brien has contacted 311 to utilize the city's free rodent extermination service "many times." And occasionally, it's been successful, she said. But the problem seems to plague the city.
The City of Windsor has offered a free rodent control program over the last three years, and recently approved to continue funding the project in the 2020 budget.
Last year, roughly 2,154 residents contacted 311 to request their property be baited, according to the city's open data catalog. This data represents request for services, and does not necessarily mean the service was carried out, according to website.
This map created by CBC News shows roughly where in the city — by block — those service requests were made from.
Tap the map to see your area or ward. Click here if you have trouble seeing the map.
Requests to the city for rodent removal have been steady since the city made the service free. In 2018, there were 2,223 requests. The year before saw 2,161 requests and 2016 had the lowest number of calls at 320, however the extermination service was not free at that time.
The program costs approximately $150,000 per year, and council has the option to renew it on a annual basis. The service provides "free baiting services to residential properties experiencing rat infestation on the exterior of their home," as per the 2020 budget's executive summary.
Click here if you have trouble seeing the chart.
Last year, those baiting services were used the most in ward 4. The data also showed that service requests were most common in July, August and September. The winter months of December, January and February saw the least amount of calls.
Click below to watch a discussion about rat control with rodent specialist Chris Ortner:
Brien, on Randolph Avenue, made a service request to the city on Thursday after finding holes appearing to tunnel next to the exterior wall of her home. She said she's been happy with the services provided by the city, but that it does take a while before the rodents are trapped.
"It's a long process," she said. "They send out the inspector first, you show the inspector all the holes, and then he writes it all up and within a week somebody comes out to bait."
But another issue for those trying to secure their property from rats is adjacent yards and alleyways.
Many residents told CBC News that open-container or plastic garbage cans are easily accessed by the rodents. Unkept yards tend to be another problem.
Brien said it's no use trying to trap them on your own property if neighbours aren't as vigilant or participate in the city's program.
"If the rat holes are next door in the next door neighbour's ... they can't go on their property unless those people are home and they have permission to go and bait," she said.