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Cleveland's Public Square being plagued by rats

The Cleveland Department of Public Health says it is doing double the work than in years past just to keep the rats under control.

CLEVELAND — Some unwanted residents are becoming a nuisance in and around Cleveland's Public Square. 

Rat sightings are running rampant. In fact, Public Square resident Kayla Wells says the rodent issue has never been this bad. "It was disgusting," she tells 3News.

Her biggest concern is for her two dogs. Wells takes them for walks around downtown multiple times every day. But a recent run-in between her Bernedoodles versus the rats has Wells feeling fed up.  

"What are my tax dollars doing to the city of Cleveland? I want to get from out of downtown," she says. "I don't want to live here if there's going to be rats and rodents. Rent is already expensive. It's really just not a place I want to be anymore."

So what is causing the sudden rat rush?

Cleveland Health Inspector Robert Patterson tells 3News that trying to keep the rats under control has been a brutal battle. 

"As they start moving from underground, they start scurrying to other locations and as they're moving, they're looking for food, water, and shelter," he explains.

The combination of construction all across downtown and Public Square, winter weather moving in, and noticeable trash left around has opened the door to the rodents to cause havoc.

"It makes sense because, to be honest with you, they don't really pick up any of the poop or any trash on the floor therein or in the street," says Wells.

Patterson says the Cleveland Department of Public Health is well aware of the problem. "We want to revitalize downtown Cleveland, but this is what happens."

He adds that the department is doing double the work than in years past just to keep the rats under control. 

In the meantime, the department also reminds residents and visitors that all trash should be thrown into a proper receptacle in the city and into a receptacle with a secured lid at home, while also removing any standing water buckets or small pools.

It’s also imperative to report rat sightings and issues to the health department so they can investigate and take action before the problem escalates.

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