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Winooski residents report an invasion of rats after home demolished

WINOOSKI, Vt. - People in Winooski have noticed some unwanted guests in recent weeks, rats.

"I have never seen so many rats in my life," said Martha Chadwick, who lives in Winooski.

People living near a property on Lafountain Street say it all began on March 31st when a home there was demolished.

"The next morning I go out, we do have chickens back there and there were rats everywhere...  Circling in and out of the outbuildings, but not in our residence," recalled Chadwick.

When the rats arrived, Chadwick took to Front Porch Forum, a community-based online forum, to urge neighbors to be on the look-out and to clean up any food or trash.

Chadwick said, "We have removed all compost, chicken food and water are removed... You know I have cautioned my grandchildren and kids to not drop food outside."

Chadwick says the city has been proactive in addressing the issue, but it's not allowed to take action on privately owned property. The post has sparked quite the conversation around town, with concerns raised over potential health issues.

"You're concerned about things like rat-bite fever, hantavirus, tularemia, salmonella... There are a lot of things you can catch from these critters," said Jean Szilva, who lives in Winooski.

Szilva says she hasn't seen any rats yet, but has sealed up her home in the past to avoid mice. "Nobody should live in danger or disgust," she said.

The city has advised residents to exterminate any known pests after careful consideration or to get professional advice. Szilva says she hopes everyone can learn from this unfortunate situation.

"I'd like to see how they're handling this and maybe a time to re-examine on what we're doing," said Szilva.

Local 22 & Local 44 reached out to the property owner for comment Wednesday, but have not heard back.


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