JeffCo homeowners turn to Problem Solvers amid neighborhood rat infestation

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- A neighborhood rat infestation in the Littleton area has homeowners turning to the FOX31 Problem Solvers after they say their HOA has not done enough to help.

The infestation has been reported along West Berry Avenue near South Simms Street and West Bowles Avenue. Rick Foster and Steven Moore, who own a home in the neighborhood, say they have contacted their HOA, Jefferson County Animal Control and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The duo says issues started in 2015 when their next-door neighbor left food in the backyard for wildlife. Back then, they say CPW counted 11 foxes in one backyard.

“A pan of dog food, cat food … hot dogs they put out there,” Moore said. “Parks and Wildlife told them -- when they came out on 2015 -- not to put food out. They stopped for a little bit and then continue."

The current issue is a rat infestation. Foster and Moore sent video to the FOX31 Problem Solvers showing rats scurrying around their neighbor’s yard. The Problem Solvers saw the rats in person on Thursday.

“[If] the rats start infesting our house … that’s a big concern,” Foster said.

Foster and Moore live in unincorporated Jefferson County. CPW says Jefferson County does not have a law against the feeding wildlife.

The state of Colorado does have laws against attracting wildlife by having food sources around homes. CPW says those laws cater toward drawing in big game animals. There’s generally no penalty until a homeowner has already been warned to remove food sources attracting animals like bears and mountain lions.

The Problem Solvers visited the neighbor who has been alleged of violating HOA guidance on feeding wildlife.

“We have a birdfeeder in our backyard,” the neighbor said.

“And that’s it?” the reporter asked.

“That’s it,” the neighbor responded.

Foster and Moore say the neighbor feeding wildlife is a board member of the HOA.

The property management company of the HOA sent the following statement:

“The HOA was made aware of the issue for putting food out that was attracting rats and the HOA is taking steps to enforce the covenant violation pursuant to the HOA’s governing documents.

In the interim the HOA was advised that the owner had employed a pest control company to mitigate the rat problem.  At this point the HOA is continuing to monitor the situation and to the extent that there are any ongoing covenant enforcement violations the HOA will enforce the violation according to the HOA enforcement policy.

Please note, the HOA has no authority to go onto the owner’s property and install traps or remove the feeders, the HOA must go through the process outlined in the policies and governing documents for the association.” – Michelle Peck, ttmc Property Management.

Foster and Moore say they will be at the next HOA meeting. Meanwhile, they say they hope changes can be made to allow Jefferson County and CPW more enforcement power over feeding all types of wildlife.

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