Centralia homeowner overrun by dozens of rats

CENTRALIA, Wash. -- A Centralia homeowner is being overrun by rats, and she doesn't know why.

Joan Lankow said a couple dozen rats come out every night.

"It's awful," she said. "I hate them. They're so dirty."

She said her house is clean and rat free and her yard is well maintained, but last May the rats began showing up in her garage. Now they come every night to eat her grape vines and the food inside her dove cage.

She said she now catches a rat every morning.

"Every morning," she said. "And that's a small one compared to what we've caught in the past."

The final straw came when a rat bit her dog, Reba, 18 times. That's when Lankow became desperate and turned to the KOMO Problem Solvers for help.

Lankow is unemployed and can't afford to get rid of the rats on her own, but local exterminator Rick Reitman agreed to take a look at her garage.

He poked around the yard and said even with the grapes and bird food, he couldn't figure out why the property was so overrun.

"I don't know why there are so many rats around here," he said.

In the end, Reitman rigged a poison trap and told Lankow he'd help her out at no cost. It will take a while before she knows if the poison does the trick, but she's happy for the help.

Neighbors think several nearby construction projects might be driving the rats into the neighborhood.