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Rat Sightings Becoming Increasingly Frequent in Clintonville

COLUMBUS (Terri Sullivan/Ken Hines) -- Normal backyard items have become a major draw for rats in the Clintonville area.

Several residents have filed complaints about the presence of rats over recent weeks, prompting members of the Clintonville Area Commission to ask Columbus officials to help them determine if the animals present a health hazard to the public.

Experts say bird feeders and backyard gardens may be partially responsible for the increase in rat sightings, due to the ready food source the items provide for the rodents.

Dori Henery has seen four rats at the family's Clintonville home over recent months -- although her cat, Barnaby, made sure the pests caused no problems on the property.

Barnaby brought his latest kill to Henery's two-year-old daughter in early September.

"She thought it was a mouse and said, 'Night night,'" Henery said. "It was pretty big."

John McCullough's cat, Adina, also keeps an eye out for rats in the neighborhood, ready to pounce on any rodents that venture on to his owner's property.

"He likes to be on the prowl, he patrols the neighborhood," McCullough said. "I think Adina's caught in the past year, maybe two rats, which surprised me."

Any study on the number of rats in Clintonville would have to be conducted using guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, which could cause the investigation to take up to a year to complete.
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