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Rodents Roam River Bend
The dog problem in River Bend may have
given rise or at least given over to a rat problem
in that residential neighborhood east of North
Bend. Rats, it has been discovered, may be as numerous
as dogs, but an investigator for the King County Department of Public Health told the Record
last week that the situation in River Bend is "just routine."
Caroline Nelson, after investigating a
complaint about rats in one section of River Bend last week,
said in a telephone conversation that residents are
taking care of the problem themselves.
Rats, she said, are in River Bend because there is
a food supply. That supply includes dog food, dog feces, garden vegetables, garbage and just
about anything rats can sink their hungry teeth into.
"If there's no food for them," she
commented, "there won't be any rats."
Nelson explained that there is an abundant
food supply for rats when people don't pay attention
to cleaning up around the yard. Dog food left outside
for pets becomes food for rats. Fecal rounds, which
still contain particles of undigested food or fatty
wastes, are also eaten by rodents.
She suggested ways to cure the problem, such
as placing all garbage in cans with lids, boxing up
dog food or keeping it inside, cleaning dog manure
off lawns and burying it and making sure no garbage
is left lying around.
But Nelson's suggestions and assurances that
the problem is "only routine" did not fully respond
to the concerns of at least one River Bend
resident, Mrs. Jan Connell.
Mrs. Connell told the Record last week that
a neighbor recently killed 14 rats on his property
with a B-B gun in "a matter of a few hours."
Nelson's supervisor, Tak Kuriyama, said
King County has "rodents everywhere," and indicated
that "if you want to see rats, go to Bellevue,
Mercer Island or Medina."
Kuriyama said the rat population can be controlled by eliminating the available food
sources which will, in turn, bring a reduction in
the population of the rats through lower
reproduction rates and because, when there is no food, rats
fight among themselves and "the strongest survive."
"You may have some tough rats
afterwards," Kuriyama commented, "but there may only be
one or two of them."
"The best way to control rats is with
sanitation," he said.