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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.

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