(Southaven, MS) The Southaven house at 1676 Custer sits, boarded up and burned out, after what police say was an arson fire started by a jealous wife who found her husband cheating.
Since then, neighbors say it’s become a haven for rats that apparently nest here and roam the neighborhood for food.
”They’re pretty good sized rats now, and they come out of the windows, back of the house and coming over to our house, tearing up furniture,” said Robert Lacomb.
Others say the animals are positively frightening.
”They’re like really creepy, it’s like they’re gonna bite me” said a fearful Kristin Johnson.
Problem is, Mississippi law severely restricts what cities can do about problems like this.
”We can’t just walk on the property, into the building and proceed with looking into the rat problem. The slum clearance, we call it the slum clearance ordinance, we can’t just tear it down,” said Southaven Planning Director Whitney Choat-Cook.
She says she’s had an incredibly difficult time trying to track down the owner, and until she does, there’s little she, or the city can do.
A quick inspection of the house shows plenty of places where rats could get in and out even though the place is boarded up.
This Colonial Hills neighborhood has a history of rat problems we documented about twenty years ago.
Back then, the Mayor then gave homeowners rat poison, but Southaven wants to avoid that this time.
”Children get their hands on it. I don’t think we want to go that route with poisons,” Choat-Cook Explained.
Either way, neighbors say something has to be done about the rats, and the abandoned, burned-out house.
Southaven leaders hope to have some plan of action by the end of the week.