Out-of-control rats crossing Albany power lines

7-25-13-albany house with power lines
Joe Weedman lives next door to that Albany house he says has been empty for more than two years. He has seen rats scurrying atop the back fence of the empty house, and across power lines. One July 25, 2013, he said the old brush pile and overgrown vegetation at the home on 28th Avenue is a perfect home for the rats. (KOIN 6 News)

ALBANY, Ore. (KOIN) — The city of Albany’s effort to control the feral cat population may be having some unintended consequences.

Albany is now seeing a reported rise in its rat population.

Staff in the Albany city manager’s office told KOIN 6 News they’ve been getting more complaints about rats. Wayne Stott of Albany is one of those who’ve complained.

Stott has lived here in northwest Albany for the past several years. During that time he has seen his share of field mice — most of them brought to his door courtesy of his house cat Gracy.

But the rat he retrieved from under his house recently is something new — and this rat was a big one.

Bigger than our cat,” Stott said. “The cat weighs about three pounds; this one was heavier, much heavier than that.”

Stott thought he’d call someone at the city just to let them know — and to ask if there was a rat problem in town.

“The city said ‘Yes, in certain areas around Albany there has been a problem with rats,'” Stott said. “And then, talking with some friends that live around, they said ‘Yeah we have rats.'”

No one knows for sure what’s behind the increase in the number of complaint calls about rats in Albany. But Albany’s mayor, Sharon Konopa, suggested recently that it could be the result of some aggressive city efforts in recent years to control the feral cat population.

7-25-13-albany brush pile
Albany resident Joe Weedman said this brush pile, at an empty house next door him on 28th Avenue, is a perfect home for rats. (KOIN 6 News, July 25, 2013)

Joe Weedman lives across town, next door to a house that has been empty for more than two years. He has seen rats scurrying atop the back fence of the empty house, and across power lines. He said the old brush pile and overgrown vegetation at the home on 28th Avenue is a perfect home for the rats.

“They have plenty of food, and there’s plenty of shelter since none of this stuff has been cleaned up,” he said. “So they’re kind of just going unchecked.”

It has been years since the city of Albany or Linn County has had a rat control program. Then, four years ago, Albany funded efforts to reduce feral cat populations.

But this well-intended effort to get rid of feral cats, some think, now may have some unexpected consequences.

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