Gilpin Court residents report rat problems

By Diane Walker - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Those disgusting, disease-carrying rodents are back. More Gilpin Court residents contacted 12 on Your Side, about rats, in their homes.

The public housing authority says there is no site-wide, rat problem. But, tenants we spoke with call it an infestation. One collected evidence to show us.

Nakita Lurry bagged up a rat and saved it in her freezer - her way of refuting Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority's assertion that rats aren't running wild through Gilpin Court.

"Convince RRHA that there is a problem, that there is a nest or something in this apartment," said Nakita.

She says she's seen at least 20 rats, in various places in her sink, the toilet, and under covers in her bed.  She even claims to have chased one from her baby's crib.

"When I went to put her back in her crib, I pulled her cover back and there was a rat laying right there, underneath her cover," she said.

In response, the public housing authority is sending an exterminator Wednesday but, information it released implies occasional sightings. RRHA says it received three rat complaints from Nakita's apartment, since '08.

"It's really bad and scary.  It's not good for my health and stuff; it's been making me sick so much," said 11-year-old Traesha Burke.

This child and her mother stopped us, while we were there. They live adjacent to the building we visited back in April. Traci Burke claims rats have freeway from the sewer to their apartments.

"His head was about that big. The body was about that long. It's like a little puppy. They're big. They're not mice. I know what mice are. These are rats," said Traci Burke.

On Traci's complaint, RRHA says the only extermination request it received, was last year. But, it will inspect, and treat for rats, if necessary, Wednesday as well. It's that case by case response, that residents say is causing the rat problem to become bigger.

"They come they look they leave, they left me some rat poison," Traci said.

We did not get any indication Tuesday, that there would be a larger, extermination, effort. The housing authority referred us to the city, for feedback, on whether the rat problem in Gilpin Court, is part of a bigger problem in the city.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.