After the discovery of a rat at New Westminster Secondary School and the resulting furor, another Royal City resident has come forth with his belief that there are more rats in the city than usual this year.
Sapperton resident John Hislop told The Record he's already caught six rats around his house - specifically the yard - this year and he's had to resort to using industrial rat traps.
"In my neighbourhood, I've noticed more pest control vans, and it's the talk of the neighbourhood," he said. "My neighbours are also catching rats."
Hislop said the issue may be related to two abandoned houses in the neighbourhood. And while he and his neighbours haven't made a formal complaint about those homes or their perceived increase in rat sightings, that may be the next step.
"Do I think the (rat) problem is any worse than previous years? I don't know," he said. "What I do know is, I'm catching more rats this year and so are my neighbours."
Sukhwinder Maghera, animal control coordinator for the City of New Westminster, said he hasn't received any complaints about an increased number of rats in the city.
"I think our last complaint about rats came two years ago, when there was construction at the St. Mary's site," said Maghera. "Since then, we haven't had anything."
The Record also contacted the Fraser Health Authority to ask whether they had received more complaints about rats this year.
"While we do from time to time receive complaints from people about rats on their own property," said Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma, "we have not seen an increase in rats in public areas."
A call to Orkin Canada Pest Control's Burnaby location had a customer service agent say that anecdotally, their location hasn't received any more calls than usual.
The agent preferred to stay anonymous, referring the matter to a local regional manager, who did not return a message left by The Record.
Hislop said that when he went to Orkin to get his traps, he saw something completely different.
"The phones were ringing off the hook there," he said. "I saw other people buying traps and other things. . I think this is an epidemic across the Lower Mainland."
Hislop said that while many people have not complained to the city about rats, that doesn't mean there aren't more sightings of rats in the city.
"It's something people don't bring up to the city, but I intend to talk to the city about it," said Hislop, who added he may also bring up the two abandoned houses and whether the city can do anything about that.
See royalcityrecord.com for previous coverage on the rat issue at NWSS.