Foreclosed home blamed for rising rat infestation in Allen Park

Allen Park mayor says city can't do much while budget crisis continues

By Karen Drew - Reporter/Anchor


Homeowners on Keepen Street in Allen Park take pride in their property.

However, recently there have been some unwelcomed visitors causing major concerns.

"We have rats," said Bob Callery. "I have two small dogs and I noticed in my yard, I moved my garbage can, and I had a rat under my can."

Callery blames a nearby foreclosed home.

"These are the weeds here that obviously have not been paid attention to, any of this, for I don't know how long," he said.

Callery has photos of the foreclosed home's garage filled with garbage. The house has become a dumping ground. With the trash comes the rats.

"When I came around I discovered this garage over here filled with all the trash and called the ordinance officer," Callery said.

He said no one from the city of Allen Park returned his call about the trash pile. The mess was never cleaned up. So, Callery decided to take care of it himself.

"We bought a bunch of bags and we bagged up everything," he said. "Nobody, nobody is paying attention to any of it and we have to take care of it or it is an eyesore or health hazard, or something."

Allen Park Mayor William Matakas said he understands the frustration. He said the city is short-staffed because of a budget crisis and can't do much.

"We can't hire another person on," Matakas said.

What about the health concerns residents share as the garbage piles up?

"That's trespassing, technically, so all we can do is issue a ticket," the mayor said.

Matakas did put some responsibility on the residents.

"Not leaving water in the yard, because rats need water ... making certain they are not leaving littered bird seed under their feeders. They want that for food," he said.

Callery said he will do his part, but the city has to do more.

"What's going to happen every time somebody moves out or they can't afford the house or they lose their job? Is this what is going to happen to every piece of property in Allen Park?" Callery said.

There is some good news: In October an ordinance officer will have more hours to work on the rat problem. However, until then homeowners will be on their own in Allen Park.

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