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WEBER OFFICIALS ASK RESIDENTS TO HELP ERADICATE HORDES OF RATS

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A rat invasion has Weber County health officials asking residents to help them eradicate the rodent hordes.

"We've had hundreds of complaints. It's bad," said county environmental health director Roger Wilde. "We've received more calls this year than any time in the last 10 years."When you see rats in the daytime, you know you've got a lot of rats, and that's what (Weber) residents are seeing," he added.

While rats do pose a public health problem, the rodents found in the northern Utah county are not known to carry plague, rabies or the deadly hantavirus, he said.

In addition to making their homes in woodpiles, rats like to burrow under weed piles or bushes. But the biggest problem is associated with dogs.

"Residents with outside dogs need to make sure that when their dogs eat, they remove any excess food," Wilde said. "And they should clean up animal droppings on a daily basis. Rats will even eat the droppings."

Richard Harvey, environmental health director in neighboring Davis County, also said the rodent population in his area has increased this year - but it could have been worse.