St. Clair Shores considering $5 rat bounty program - KMSP-TV

St. Clair Shores considering $5 rat bounty program

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ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. (WJBK) -

St. Clair Shores admits it has a rat problem.  They're trying anything and everything to get rid of rodents, and that may include a bounty program.

Rats can look so darn cute in pictures with their little eyes and button nose, but for a lot of people that live in St. Clair Shores, there is nothing cute about the critters.  They want them gone.

"We had seven dead rats this summer that we've caught.  I did see a dead one about two weeks ago in the middle of the street, and then two nights ago I saw one crossing the street at night," said Heather Hawkins.

Rat traps can be spotted around homes and in backyards.  It's part of the effort to control the rodents, which have become a very expensive problem.

"They're nesting in vehicles and chewing up wires and destroying people's vehicles.  So not only is it a health concern, but it's starting to cost people money," said Nicole Stanley.

"We cut up all of our bushes, took those out.  We put mesh down all along the house and then put rocks along so they couldn't burrow under and get into the creeks and crevices," Hawkins explained.

City leaders acknowledge the problem and are trying to come up with a solution like more secure garbage cans and educating the public on how to keep the rats at bay.  However, the proposal that has everyone talking is a rat bounty -- $5 for each dead rat a homeowner turns in.

"When we first heard it, it was like oh come on.  Really?  A bounty.  But then we talked about it some more.  We said if it does help us find out where the issues are, it may be something worth considering.  We know we're not going to trap our way out of rats being in existence," said Acting City Manager Mike Smith.

The thought is track where the rats are coming from and you have a better chance of fighting the problem.  Homeowners would have to agree to allow inspectors onto their properties so they can bait the area -- outside of the box thinking that has some people shaking their heads.

"The bounty for the rats I think is kind of ridiculous," said Hawkins.  "$5 a rat, I could've gotten $55 this summer.  That's $55 they could've put towards solving the problem."

The rat bounty is just part of a larger proposal.  City council members are expected to take up the issue again in March.

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