PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A whole neighborhood is dealing with an infestation of hundreds of rats. They’re coming from a hoarder’s house where someone was recently discovered dead.
Megan Lorts has dozens of rats all over her yard and right up to her front porch. “I think there’s a thousand of them in there,” she said.” It doesn’t seem real. It’s scary.”
Lorts noticed the rats Thursday, Sept. 23, around the same time she noticed an unbearable smell coming from her next-door neighbor’s house. “It’s still a really, really bad smell. It’s strong. It’s enough to hold your nose when you walk by,” she said.
She called the police to check on the house. Officers say hoarding conditions were so bad they couldn’t safely go inside. Firefighters ended up going in dressed head-to-toe in safety gear. They discovered a person had died. Neighbors say they knew there was hoarding going on in the house, and that a woman there owned at least one python.
Lort says her children are scared to even walk out of their house because they worry they’ll get chased by rats. “They are crazy rats. And they’re all coming out now because they’re not afraid. They’re hungry,” she said.
Gary Kvintus found a dead rat in his garage and started setting up traps all over his yard. “They’re running up and down the street,” he said.
“It’s sickening, actually. I mean, it’s a health hazard. They start attacking pets and stuff and next thing you know, they’re going to start spreading diseases,” he added.
Because it’s such a health issue, the City of Peoria contracted a hazmat team to start boarding up the house. According to a city spokesperson, the traps and poison will take about a week to kill off the pests before crews can start cleaning out the house. All the hazmat and extermination costs will be billed to the home’s estate.
Meanwhile, Lorts and a friend built a clever trap with a wooden ramp leading to the trash can from the garage door.
“The rats climb up there. There’s a pole with a sprite can that had peanut butter [laid across the trash can’s opening] so they eat that, and then they fall into the trash can and they can’t get out,” she explained.
There are at least 10 rats in there – just a drop in the barrel compared to the rats that are seemingly taking over the neighborhood. “I don’t know that I even have a word for it. Scary as hell?” Lorts said. “I was scared. I was grossed out. It’s nasty.”