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Corner Brook woman concerned about rodents behind her home

Margaret Hicks displays a picture of a rat caught in a trap she set in the backyard of her home on Concord Avenue in Corner Brook. STEPHEN ROBERTS PHOTO
Margaret Hicks displays a picture of a rat caught in a trap she set in the backyard of her home on Concord Avenue in Corner Brook. STEPHEN ROBERTS PHOTO - Stephen Roberts

CORNER BROOK — All through the summer and fall, Margaret Hicks says, her backyard has been infested with rodents and she’s wondering who’s going to do something about it.

The Corner Brook woman lives on Concord Avenue, where, she says, every day there are countless mice, rats and shrews swarming her backyard and around the homes located behind it.

Hicks says the problem only emerged this year.

“We’ve been here 52 years and we’ve never had rats before,” she told SaltWire Network.

At first, she thought the rats were attracted to the garbage left in the bin of the apartment building behind her home.

But that has been cleaned up, and there are still rats.

She says they may be coming from the abandoned Canton Restaurant a few blocks away on Caribou Road, but, ultimately, she doesn’t know.

Hicks has been fortunate that none have been getting into her home and shed. She says other homes in the area have seen rats get in under the siding and find their way inside.

“I’m frightened to death to open the basement door, afraid they might get inside,” she said.

She has set traps near the fence around her yard to keep the pests away.

Thus far, she’s captured nine.

Margaret Hicks checks one of the traps behind her home. STEPHEN ROBERTS PHOTO
Margaret Hicks checks one of the traps behind her home. STEPHEN ROBERTS PHOTO

Cat control

Amy Connolly, a neighbour who lives on Caribou Road, behind Hicks’ backyard, moved in last November.

She says there are rodents around Corner Brook, but she’s never seen it as bad as this.

Like Hicks, she’s been fortunate not to have any get into her home.

While Hicks sets traps, Connolly has enlisted the services of her cats.

She got a second one to deal with the pests.

Connolly keeps them well fed, so they don’t need to feast on the rodents. But they get a few kills in.

“Both of them are steady killing rats every day,” said Connolly.

She calls the situation with the rats “out of control.”

“No one is doing anything about the problem and it’s just getting bigger and bigger,” she said.

Hicks says she contacted the city during the summer about the issue, but didn't hear back. She hasn’t followed up with the city since then.

Two reports

Ryan Butt, City of Corner Brook communications officer, told SaltWire the city had received two reports in the general vicinity of Concord Avenue since March and both were investigated.

The last report came in June.

Butt said the city couldn’t comment on Hicks’ concerns without more specifics, but if there is a persistent problem, residents are asked to call 637-1666 to report it with the city’s customer service representatives.

Municipal enforcement officers can then look into the complaint, he said.

Butt said if there’s city property in the area and the city can find evidence the pests are coming from that property, they can set traps or find other solutions at the city’s expense.

The city cannot treat anyone’s personal property, for liability reasons.

However, if the city determines a problem is coming from an accumulation of garbage or other food sources, it can compel a landowner to clean up or get them to hire a pest-control company to do a treatment at their own expense.

Butt noted that so far pest complaints overall have been down in 2020 compared to 2019.

Stephen Roberts is a west coast reporter based in Corner Brook

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