Why Have Rats, Raccoons And Other Wild Animals Been Infesting Municipal Buildings In Texas For Years?
Residents of Texas are no strangers to rats and other nuisance pests, especially residents living within one of the several large metropolitan areas within the state. Pest control professionals in the state receive calls about rat infestations in homes regularly. However, many Texans might be surprised to learn that rats and other wild animals are also a problem in many of the state’s municipal buildings, particularly within buildings containing the state’s health and human services employees. Last fall, the Austin headquarters for the state’s Health and Human Services Department was found to be infested with Norwegian rats. This did not come as a shock to many other government employees throughout the state who have reported rat, raccoon, opossum and squirrel infestations within their buildings.
The Austin municipal building’s rat infestation was particularly disturbing to employees, as the rats had been originating from the sewer below the large and heavily populated government complex. A spokesperson for the health commission estimated that the building had come to contain hundreds of Norwegian rats, and the cost of getting rid of the pests was estimated at costing a whopping 60,000 dollars. In fact, this was the estimated cost of pest control within the building after the Texas Facilities Commision, another government agency in the state, attempted, and ultimately failed to eradicate the rat presence in the building. This infestation became publicly known after government employees began noticing the rodents in their work areas. Unfortunately, by the time rats make their presence known to a building’s inhabitants, the infestation may be too substantial to control. This is because rats prefer to hide from humans, especially in buildings. When the rodents are frequently spotted indoors, all available hiding places are usually occupied by other rodents.
Back in 2014, living and dead rats were found within the Texas School for the Deaf, another municipal building. In addition to rats, officials also found squirrel, raccoon and opossum carcasses rotting within ventilation ducts and crawl spaces within the school. Not surprisingly, officials with the government facilities commision outsourced this pest infestation to private pest control professionals, which ended up costing the state 18,000 dollars. According to Seth Hutchinson, organizing coordinator for the Texas State Employees Union, the frequent wildlife infestations within Texas municipal buildings comes as a consequence of underfunding by state congress. This results in government agencies asking for “emergency funds” to deal with pest infestations that could have been avoided with regular and less costly pest inspections.
Do you believe that Texas lawmakers are aware of the wildlife infestation issues within many of the state’s municipal buildings?