Rats! Chicago battles increase in rodent infestation - FOX 32 News Chicago

Rats! Chicago battles increase in rodent infestation

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some blame local restaurants. Some blame last year's unusually warm winter. But, one thing is for sure: rats are thriving in the streets of Chicago.

The city says the rat problem is worse compared to this time last year--so much so that even rat boxes and warning signs fill a South Loop alley where rat bait is buried.

Calls to 311 from residents, businesses and restaurants complaining of the rodents are up nearly 30%.

In Greektown, patrons expressed concern and say they hope restaurants are taking the necessary precautions.

"I hope the city officials are working with the restaurants to keep us all healthy," says restaurant patron Jim Strickler.

The sanitary conditions at restaurants are what could be contributing to the rise in Chicago's rodent problem.

Alderman Robert Fioretti says he's received more than 1,000 complaints in his ward which includes the South Loop, West Loop and Bronzeville.

"I hope the restaurants such as this restaurant, the Billy Goat and others have the right kind of grease traps, the right kind of garbage storage and ways to obtain and remove their waste as they do here."

A spokesperson with the City's Streets and Sanitation Department says complaints are being received by areas not normally affected by rats and the mild winter could be another contributing factor to the recent spike.

Fox Chicago News has learned two additional rat patrols will hit the street on Thursday, increasing the total rat patrol number to 17, but Alderman Fioretti says it's not enough.

"If we're going to comprehensively deal with the rats and what happens with them whether they're from commercial developments or restaurant developments or bad pet owners, we need to come up with many more rodent people, baiters out there to deal and tackle the problem."

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