SOUTHAVEN, MS (abc24.com) - It's an infestation of the worst kind: rats. People living in one Southaven neighborhood say the varmints are out of control.
Homeowners complained to the city, but there's not an easy answer to getting rid of the rats. That's because the rodents are believed to be coming from an abandoned house. The city's trying to find the owners. Until they do, they can't legally enter the home.
"We've got them over here," says Robert Lacomb. "They're tearing up all our furniture in the back of the garage and we want to get rid of them."
"I've seen them," adds Heather Johnson. "They're grey and kind of whitish in color. They're really scary because they're just so big."
The two live in Southaven's Colonial Hills subdivision.
"They're coming from that house," Lacomb points out. It's an abandoned home on Custer Drive that burned three years ago in 2010.
"They need to either refurbish it or knock it down. We're getting tired of them," Lacomb says.
"We can't enter the actual house without permission and notification to the property owners," says city planning director Whitney Choat-Cook.
The problem is the city can't find the owners. "The more we look around, the only address we've got for the property owners is there," Choat-Cook says.
This isn't the first time there's been a rat problem in Colonial Hills. In 2006 multiple neighbors complained to the city. Now the rats are back and they're speaking up again.
"My momma bought mouse traps and put them out there, but they get the food and they don't get stuck on it," Johnson tells abc24.com.
"I don't know how the rat issue will be addressed and nobody knows how big the problem is until you can get inside the house," Choat-Cook says. "We've notified the health department, but they're going to have their hands tied just as we will."
The city has boarded up the house and keeps the lawn mowed. Southaven's city attorney is working with an insurance company to track down the owners.