RICHMOND, VA (WWBT)
By A.J. Nwoko
A Richmond mother calls 12 On Your Side, saying her house is being taken over by rats and it’s putting her six children’s health at risk.
Zakiyyah Dixon says her landlord isn’t doing enough.
“I don’t even feel like I’m at home…I feel like I’m living with somebody else, and they’re not even people,” said Dixon.
Dixon says she’s rented the home since 2017, but now:
“I just don’t even want to be here, because they’re running me out,” said Dixon.
All because of rats. Dixon says the problem is so bad, she’s seeing them in broad daylight.
“Oh yeah…It’s a family. It’s a family. I don’t know exactly how many, but it’s more than two… maybe three or four,” said Dixon.
She says she’s spent hundreds of dollars trying to solve the issue herself.
“I bought the stickies, and then I bought the little wooden ones that break their necks – those wasn’t working,” said Dixon.
Eventually, she reached out to her landlord. Dixon showed NBC12 the work he did, everything from boarding up and sealing holes in the wall and even supplying her with two special rat traps, but she says her rodent problems haven’t changed.
Her landlord did not want to be named on camera. He provided NBC12 with a receipt of services from the RRHA inspection and said in a statement that an exterminator has been to the property routinely to eliminate the issue. He also instructed her to keep a cleaner kitchen – something Dixon says she’s been doing.
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“Besides trying to keep the house as clean as possible, I take the garbage out every night. There should be no garbage left in the house at night,” said Dixon. “I am like to the point where I don’t even want to sleep here, because at night – not even to mention the fact that during the day it’s out of control – but at night, you hear them, you hear them…it’s like a constant [scurrying sound].”
As Dixon works to take back her home, she fears for her children’s safety.
“I just want out of this situation, and if I can’t get out of this situation, [the landlord] needs to fix what’s going on here so that it can be safe for me and my kids, because that’s my main concern.”
Dixon says the issue has gotten so bad, the rodents even chewed through her two-year-old’s blankets.
Her landlord says he’ll continue working with her to eliminate any future issues.
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Rats and other rodents can gain entry to homes and businesses by squeezing through hard to detect gaps and holes in rooflines, HVAC systems and foundations. Rats, mice and squirrels breed and contaminate food and building surfaces quickly.
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