Thursday, April 05, 2018

Paging the pied piper!

Rats!
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cooks’ own ladle’s,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.

A charming tale, we thought. As kids, we tried memorizing the verses. I, for one, failed in that attempt.

We never imagined worrying about rats again though!
An uptick in urban rats has homeowners frantically trying to figure out ways to thwart infestations.
"It is a bad year for rats," said Dana Sanchez, wildlife specialist for Oregon State University Extension Service. "Eugene and parts of Portland are experiencing a noticeable increase. It could mean there are more rats or it could be evidence that people are providing more habitat."
Yes, Eugene is one of the worst-hit cities.  Why?
[The primary culprit is] the prevalence of chicken coops, compost piles and backyard gardens around Eugene. They noted that weather and increased development also can be factors.
In 2013, city councilors relaxed regulations for urban farming. The change increased the number of chickens that a resident within city limits can have from two to six. In addition, a resident now can have up to six chicks.
Robin Morrison, branch manager for Bug Zapper Pest Control, said the chicken coops, compost piles and fallen, rotting fruit are a magnet for rodents.
“That’s like a free buffet for rats,” he said.
Backyard chickens, thanks to the maniacal locavores and a few carnivores insisting on "humanely killing" animals. 

It is increasingly a problem all across the country.  Thanks to which it is not only rats that we worry about, but also significant health risks:
In the United States, contact with backyard poultry is associated with hundreds of multistate salmonella outbreaks every year.
This is nuts!
[Cities] need to carefully consider their backyard chicken regulations and develop strong legal frameworks that protect animal and human health and welfare. 
At last the people in a body
To the town hall came flocking:
"‘Tis clear," cried they, ‘our Mayor’s a noddy;
And as for our Corporation--shocking
To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
For dolts that can’t or won’t determine
What’s best to rid us of our vermin!
You hope, because you’re old and obese,
To find in the furry civic robe ease?
Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking
To find the remedy we’re lacking,
Or, sure as fate, we’ll send you packing!”

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