Homeowners bring gruesome rat tale to Bethlehem Council
Updated On: Apr 17 2013 08:00:16 AM CDT
A woman could hardly hold back her tears as she pleaded with Bethlehem City Council Tuesday night for help with a rat problem she says is being caused by a vacant home in her neighborhood.
Members of council listened with concern and disbelief and several people attending the council meeting made rude remarks about city staffers as Judith Koch, of 113 East Garrison St., told her story.
Koch, a geometry teacher at Easton Area High School, said she contacted the city health bureau and the fire inspector, "but I'm getting nowhere."
She said she's had to deal with nine rats in the last year.
The problem has become so bad, she added, that rats have stolen her dogs' toys and used them to build their nests; that she had to kill a rodent she found hiding in a bucket with a baseball bat, and has to listen to them scurrying across the floor of her home and inside the walls.
"They're chewing constantly. I can hear them," she told council. "Can I get someone, anyone to listen?"
Koch said the exterminating company she uses, Seitz Bros. Pest Control, told her the only way to bring the problem under control is "to get all of my neighbors involved."
Emily Frye, of 115 East Garrison St., backed up Koch's account, and said the rats pose a danger to her 1-year-old son, who crawls on the floor. "My pediatrician tells me I should move out for the sake of my son's health, but I can't afford to," she said. "And my cats are getting worms and fleas."
Both Koch and Frye said a vacant nearby home owned by an elderly woman in a nursing home appears to be the source of the problem.
After the council meeting, Koch and Frye met with Mayor John Callahan and Joe Kelly, the city's director of community and economic development, and were told that the city tried to get a warrant in January to search the vacant home, but a district justice turned them down.
They both promised the women that they would continue trying to remedy the situation.
Paulette Moll, of 710 Second Ave., also asked council for help, saying she has video documentation that there are 18 people living in the home next to hers.
She said she has turned over to authorities the footage from the cameras she installed to protect her home, but nothing has been done.
She said she has contacted the mayor's office and the police chief, but her calls have not been returned.
Moll also recited the names of the 18 people living in the home.
Copyright 2013 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Excavation crews find coffins beneath school playground
Woman gets life without parole for grandmother's death
First Niagara Bank robbed on Route 100
Storm's 1-2-3 punch: Frigid, snowy and icy
Proposed minimum wage increase could be tough for some
Call for unconscious people inside home a false alarm, officials say
Phone scam scares people into wiring money to Puerto Rico
Earnings stolen from family-owned Christmas tree farm
Fresh fast-food strikes planned for Thursday
Shoemakersville lifts advisory for residents to conserve water