Author Topic: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...  (Read 9678 times)

ncornilsen

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My property borders an appartment complex on one side. Near my far back corner, there's a back porch for a unit. About a year ago, a tenant moved in there and began throwing peanutes out thier back porch to feed the invasive eastern gray squirrels that inhabit Portland.

I thought the squirrels we bad - I basically cannot have any potted plants since they take these peanuts and bury them and uproot or eat my plants. I've also had to trap 5 or 6 of them out of a small tool shed until I determined how they were getting in.

But this last winter, I've been fighting rats too! in the previous 6 years I've lived here, I've never seen any evidence AT ALL of rats. None. This year, I trapped about 15 of them out of my shop, where they've done hundreds of dollars in damage to the structure and the contents, not to mention made my project car stink like them. My shop is in the back corner very near where this lady throws her peanuts around.

I've asked this lady if she was feeding the squirrels, and she flatly denied it... I've seen her do it, so that was a lie. This is the type of person who sits on her back porch and talks to the squirrels... I doubt she'll stop willingly. I might try to convince her to put them out in a tray that she takes in at night.

I called the apartment complex and asked if they could have her stop, and they said they don't really care.

Anyway, what other recourse do I have for this kind of thing? 

lizzzi

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 08:39:56 AM »
Posting to follow. Similar situation in apartment complex, and believe it or not, with neighbors near my house out-of-state. These kinds of people honestly think that by throwing birdseed, bread, vegetable peelings, and lord knows what else out in their grass, that they are  helping nature and the animals in some way. Maddening. They're not just attracting vermin, they're attracting predators (owls, coyotes, etc.) who are dangerous to small household pets.

BlueHouse

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 09:21:28 AM »
1. Print out information from your city/county health department about practices that attract rats and the health related problems, then stick it under neighbors' door.  Something like this:  https://doh.dc.gov/service/rat-population-increase-notice
2. Purchase motion-activated water sprinklers
3. Get a kitten.  Give it to your neighbor.  It will give her something better to do. 
4. Learn the squirrel "danger sound" that they use to communicate amongst themselves.  My BIL does it perfectly and it's hysterical to see the little buggers race for the trees! 
5.  Report the apartment complex to the city/county for throwing food out the windows/unsanitary food waste, etc.  If you report it as the apartment building management is doing it, then the city will care more and then the complex may care more. 
6.  Sprinkle cayenne pepper all around the area
7.  Go out with a broom and start sweeping as soon as she starts throwing the peanuts. 

That's all I can think of.  good luck!

Lulee

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 09:30:20 AM »
First, get her feeding the squirrels on tape.  Otherwise itís your word against hers and who wants to step into that sort of mess if they don't have to?

Next, contact the owners of the apartment complex if it's different than who you spoke with before.  Explain you have on video this tenant feeding wildlife, possibly against state law, and you believe it's attracting rats as well.  While their management team didn't seem concerned, you as a property owner know the damage and costs of dealing with a rat infestation can bring which has lead you to reach out to them, the owners, as you are sure they would be happy to avoid that sort of expense and possible liability issue at their property.  Taking that tack makes you sound less like a crank and more like an ally.

The city or sheriff's office must have animal control officers who can help explain the laws that might be applicable to help you out.  As you have proof of her behavior, they may be able to intervene.  Especially as youíve been trapping the rats so as to avoid poisoning them which could cause harm to any children or pets in the neighboring apartments.  Makes you the good guy in all of this.

If you're sure the squirrels are non-native, your wildlife department may step in as well because by feeding them, she's helping them breed and spread and therefore wipe out native ones.  http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/squirrels.asp has a fact sheet saying not to feed them but doesn't state there's a law against it.  Iíd lay good odds there's something they can use to intervene, but only if there's proof about which kind she's feeding.

neophyte

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 09:30:39 AM »
I say trap 'em.  Then do the red neck thing and keep track of your kill tally by nailing the tails to the side of your shed. On the side facing her porch of course.

Nothlit

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 09:47:09 AM »
I had a similar situation in my apartment building a couple of years ago. This woman would open her 2nd floor window, poke out a corner of the window screen, and toss birdseed down onto the ground. It was basically a daily occurrence. She had a cat that often sat in the window, so I assume it was for the cat's amusement to attract birds and squirrels? Anyway, it was also attracting skunks, possums, and raccoons (which I regularly encountered while walking to/from the parking lot). I left notes for her informing her of this and asking her to stop. I contacted the property management company. She didn't stop, and the management didn't really care. Fortunately she moved out a few months later. If she had not, my next plan was to report her to the town code enforcement office. I looked up the town bylaws and found explicit prohibitions on feeding wildlife in a way that attracts nuisance pests, so it seemed pretty clear to me that she was breaking the law. So, I guess that's what I would recommend in your case if you can't get the neighbor to stop or the property owner to do anything about it. A knock on the door from the police might do the trick.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 10:29:41 AM »
I buy a farm rat poison in big blocks I guess for barns and put it under some exterior stairs I'm pretty sure the squirrels and other animals don't go/cant get to but the rats can. (the area is fenced in with some wooden grating). This has done wonders to keep the rat population down.   

Even if I had plenty of video evidence on improper feeding, its unlikely the cops in my town would do anything.

Slee_stack

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 10:44:31 AM »
This sounds like a pick your battle situation.

I would also be surprised if the local police have enough bandwidth or concern to follow-up on this, but do make at least one try.


I suppose you could just go outside when you see the feeding happening, give her the stink eye / hands-on-hip stare a few times and she if she gets ashamed.

Feel free to take your video camera along to enforce that you are taking notice.

Midwest

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 10:54:39 AM »
I tend to use poison on mice (and would if we had rats) in conjunction with traps. 

lizzzi

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2017, 11:08:10 AM »
Poison would really worry me in terms of possibly poisoning somebody's pet. Even on a leash, my young dog is constantly scavenging, and can grab things quicker than I can stop him. Sometimes I can't see what he's got ahold of, and it's scary, and hard to get smaller things away from him. (Chewing gum, pieces of chicken bones, etc. People throw down Everything. ) I worry about some nut putting down poison along the walking trails or somewhere where people walk their dogs a lot. (Not saying posters upthread are nuts--didn't mean it that way.)

Spork

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2017, 11:27:50 AM »
Poison would really worry me in terms of possibly poisoning somebody's pet. Even on a leash, my young dog is constantly scavenging, and can grab things quicker than I can stop him. Sometimes I can't see what he's got ahold of, and it's scary, and hard to get smaller things away from him. (Chewing gum, pieces of chicken bones, etc. People throw down Everything. ) I worry about some nut putting down poison along the walking trails or somewhere where people walk their dogs a lot. (Not saying posters upthread are nuts--didn't mean it that way.)

It can kill dogs/cats... but even more likely is that it causes secondary poisoning on raptors and owls.  In other words: you end up killing the very thing that would normally control the problem.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2017, 11:57:47 AM »
What about the department of health?  They might care.

Like someone said:  Pick your battles.

This type of thing really matters on a large scale, but it's not easy to enforce these laws if you have them.  One party doing this is not going to make a huge difference.

Rimu05

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2017, 02:18:15 PM »
First, get her feeding the squirrels on tape.  Otherwise itís your word against hers and who wants to step into that sort of mess if they don't have to?

Next, contact the owners of the apartment complex if it's different than who you spoke with before.  Explain you have on video this tenant feeding wildlife, possibly against state law, and you believe it's attracting rats as well.  While their management team didn't seem concerned, you as a property owner know the damage and costs of dealing with a rat infestation can bring which has lead you to reach out to them, the owners, as you are sure they would be happy to avoid that sort of expense and possible liability issue at their property.  Taking that tack makes you sound less like a crank and more like an ally.

The city or sheriff's office must have animal control officers who can help explain the laws that might be applicable to help you out.  As you have proof of her behavior, they may be able to intervene.  Especially as youíve been trapping the rats so as to avoid poisoning them which could cause harm to any children or pets in the neighboring apartments.  Makes you the good guy in all of this.

If you're sure the squirrels are non-native, your wildlife department may step in as well because by feeding them, she's helping them breed and spread and therefore wipe out native ones.  http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/squirrels.asp has a fact sheet saying not to feed them but doesn't state there's a law against it.  Iíd lay good odds there's something they can use to intervene, but only if there's proof about which kind she's feeding.

I believe filming someone on their private property is illegal. I'd check the rules on that because if you film someone illegally you have an even worse scenario on your hands.

On that note, when I was in Higschool, our upstairs neighbor would do this on their balcony and annoyingly, bird feed and peanuts would also land on our balcony, but no matter how many times my mom complained, they persisted.

Good luck op. Annoying neighbors are like rats, very hard to get rid off.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 02:22:13 PM by Rimu05 »

TrMama

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2017, 04:21:14 PM »
How about trapping them and then tossing the carcasses over the fence onto her porch? That may help get the message across to her.

ncornilsen

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2017, 07:21:02 AM »

I did some research, and there is an ordinance against attracting rats with waste left laying around.

I'll try with the property manager first, see what they say and escalate accordingly.

As for one person not making much of a difference... she throws a COFFEE CAN a day out there. I don't need to film her doing it, the evidence is piled up around her porch.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2017, 07:35:36 AM »
If the management company isn't willing to help control the situation, I'm guessing you could make a nuisance complaint against the property owner. If you document your complaints and efforts to resolve the situation, you likely could sue them. Eventually they'll start caring.

BlueHouse

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Re: Neighbor drama - they're feeding squirrels, and attracting rats...
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2017, 11:35:28 AM »

I did some research, and there is an ordinance against attracting rats with waste left laying around.

I'll try with the property manager first, see what they say and escalate accordingly.

As for one person not making much of a difference... she throws a COFFEE CAN a day out there. I don't need to film her doing it, the evidence is piled up around her porch.

Do you mean a coffee can's worth of peanuts?  Or do you mean an actual coffee can?  If the latter, holy cow, how can anyone consume that much coffee?  Also, littering. ugh.