Baltimore County bucks up for rat attack

Posted at 6:13 PM, May 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-05 16:30:12-04
Her backyard looks clean.
"I see so many rat droppings all around," said Kimberly DiMarino, who knows all too well that looks can be deceiving. "When I cleaned up all the stuff under here and I lifted up a tarp, there was a rat ran right out.  So, yes, I won't even come out here at night no more."
Enter the 'sweep team'---Baltimore County Code Enforcement inspectors who sweep through alleys, like DiMarino’s in Dundalk, looking for trash cans without lids, holes where the rats have eaten through them and burrows---a sure sign of rat infestation.
"The burrows that we see---a lot of times people think, 'Oh there's a rat under there', but there could be 30, 40 rats in that burrow under that shed," said Code Enforcement Coordinator Robyn Clark.
Inspectors say rats can give birth every eight weeks, and a litter born today can produce its own offspring two months from now.
The only way to stop them is to cut off their food supply, and that requires the community to do its part.

"People don't understand notices or warnings or $25,” said Clark, “They understand $350."
With $350 for each violation, no wonder tempers can run high when inspectors show up.
"We have had incidents where residents have gotten hostile,” said Code Enforcement Coordinator Adam Whitlock, “and we have had situations where weapons were pulled on our inspectors."
But as long as the rats run rampant, Code enforcement may be the only hope for driving them away.
"I'm hoping they really fine the people that need it, because we're out here trying to keep our yard clean and even my mom down on Lockwood---she wants to keep her yard clean too and I keep on seeing droppings," said DiMarino.
Last year, inspectors issued 3,600 citations, but a judge can reduce or dismiss the fines based on whether a property has a history of violations.

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