Take Care Of Rat Problem

Martins Ferry officials should not have to ask the bank that reportedly owns a rat-infested house on Washington Street to clean it up. Part of the responsibility of operating a business is to avoid creating health and/or safety hazards in one’s community and to deal with those that occur.

During Wednesday’s Martins Ferry City Council meeting, two Washington Street residents complained about a house near theirs. It is abandoned and “full of trash, furniture, bedding, clothing, leftover food and dirty dishes in the sink,” explained one woman.

That has made the building a haven for rats, which are spreading to nearby properties, the women said.

City officials promised to help. Mayor Robert Krajnyak said he will have municipal workers place poisoned bait in sewers in an attempt to kill some of the rats.

But unless their home is cleaned up, it is likely the rats will continue to breed there.

One of the women who complained to council said she believes the building is owned by a bank, which has attempted unsuccessfully to sell it. But, she added, “the bank won’t send anyone down to clean it out …”

Whether city ordinances require the bank to take care of the situation seems to be a question. “They don’t necessarily have to clean it up, but they do have to board it up and secure it,” commented city Law Director Paul Stecker.

It is likely bank officials are not aware of the situation. Our experience with officials of most businesses in our area is that they work hard to be good neighbors. This is a situation in which cleaning up the abandoned house and exterminating its rat population falls squarely into that category.