AHWATUKEE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - An Ahwatukee community is wrapped up in a big rat problem.
Chris Gentis, the president of the Ahwatukee Board of Management, which is the HOA of the community, said a lot of homes in his neighborhood are empty, and rats are making themselves comfortable there.
"They've been going down in the sewer system and will come up dry toilets in the sewer system through individual homes," Gentis said.
[GRAPHIC PHOTOS: Ahwatukee neighborhood has a rat problem]
His neighbor complained of noises coming from the empty house next door. When he went to check on it, he couldn't believe what he found.
"Full of excrement. The toilet was so stained we had them remove the toilets," Gentis said.
He said the owner had moved to a care facility, and the person watching the house died, so it had been empty for years.
"They came in through the dryer vent and chewed their way in here," Gentis said.
Most of the house has been ripped out, costing thousands of dollars. Gentis said about five of the 21 homes in his neighborhood are empty, but he also said a home doesn't have to be vacant that long for the toilet water to dry up, making it vulnerable.
"About three weeks in the dead of summer," Gentis said.
Around his block, Gentis has added sound emitters, extra lights and covered every possible opening hoping to abate the rat assembly.
"We've always been after it but like we've learned it looks like they're getting a little more comfortable," he said.
We have reached out to the City of Phoenix Monday to see if they are aware of the problem. Tuesday, they told us they responded to the rodent complaint in the area on Sept. 20, and said:
To date, we have captured two rodents in the city sanitary sewer system. Currently we still have traps placed in manhole structure in the area and are checking them every few days. We are in touch with Mr. Gentis and are providing him updates. If this was a sewer issue we'd be seeing dozens of rats trapped.