Green Bay resident: "I thought I saw little bunnies...they were rats."

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Some Green Bay residents have unwelcomed guests popping up in their yards near Lambeau Field and they are hoping a quick reaction from the neighborhood will help drive the rats away.

“Last week I was looking out the window around 8 p.m., when it was getting dark, and I thought I saw little bunnies hopping around the yard. I looked closer and they were rats,” said Deena Heins.

Heins said she has seen them in her backyard, while another neighbor found one dead along her house.

Green Bay City Inspectors are not calling it an infestation, but said it’s something that need to be addressed otherwise the rats will never go away.

“I saw this rat crawl up on my top step, walk in front of the door and then I don’t know where he went,” said Sharon DeCleene, who has seen rats in her yard.

DeCleene has lived in the shadows of Lambeau Field for decades and never thought she would see a rat scurrying across her property.

“I thought it was a mouse until I saw the body and a long tail,” said DeCleene.

DeCleene is not the only one impacted. When Heins saw a rat in her yard last week, she said, “Of course I panicked and called the city.”
Green Bay City Inspector Eric Crummy paid Heins a visit and revisited with neighbors Wednesday morning.

“Probably meeting with 5 to 6 people this morning, for pretty much the whole morning and walked them through it,” said Crummy. “I told them the cheapest, easiest ways to handle the situation and that way it kind of helps them determine if they have a problem.”

But DeCleene isn’t happy with the city’s response. She said only a few neighbors received a letter letting them know there was a rat issue in the area.

“We could have done something sooner and it wouldn’t have gotten as bad as it is, so I am really upset with the city,” said DeCleene.

“Some people get panicked by getting that information, so I would rather dig into it a little bit myself and hopefully we can fix the problem before it is actually a problem,” said Crummy.

Action 2 News asked a local pest expert, Josh Erdman with Erdye’s Pest Control, to meet us in the neighborhood to walk through some of the yards.

Erdman said he is quite familiar with the area.

“In this neighborhood, just today, we have had 3-4 calls within a stone’s throw of here,” said Erdman. “You can’t go three blocks from this neighborhood without running into our customers.”

Erdman walked through Heins and DeCleene’s yard and found multiple burrows, paths and evidence of rats.

“They will literally chew through everything,” said Erdman. “You can tell they are running between her fence, siding and wood pile back there.
You can see a pretty well-worn trail there,” said Erdman.

Heins has already put up deterrents in her yard.

“We operate a baiting program,” said Erdman. “Essentially we put a locked bait station in the yard, they are locked so kids can’t get in them and anchored to the ground. The rat will go in, eat enough poison to kill itself and then die.”

“I filled those holes (burrows in her yard) last night, just to see if they were burrowing and this morning they were all open again so I know I still have them, but they said it could take a week to two weeks to start seeing them settle down,” said Heins.

DeCleene plans on doing something to get rid of the rats in her backyard Thursday morning.

“If I can do something about it, I will,” said DeCleene. “I don’t want rats running across my deck.”

Experts said if the neighborhood doesn’t address the issue together, the rats may never leave the area.

“There’s 10-20 of them (rats) and they move from one house to the next house in the same block until something is done about it,” said Erdman.

Here are some tips to keep rats out of your yard:
• Keep your grass cut short
• Trim weeds and bushes along the house
• Put garbage in garbage cans
• Remove birdseed, vegetables or any other food source from the yard
• Remove pooled water, bird baths or any other water source from the yard
• Dispose of compost properly
• Remove clutter from yard
• Check around your house, garage and shed for any burrows or holes where grass, rocks or dirt has been removed.

“If you have neighbors that are not taking care of their property, let us know and we can work with them and help resolve that because if you are doing everything you are supposed to, and your neighbors are not, you are probably going to have an issue too,” said Crummy.