Knoxville family says trash in neighbor causing rat problem

Knoxville family says trash in neighborhood causing rat problem

Posted:
Trash is littered across the property. Trash is littered across the property.
"I actually came out here last week and cleaned this up myself and now it's already covered with garbage again," explained homeowner Rick Burris. "I actually came out here last week and cleaned this up myself and now it's already covered with garbage again," explained homeowner Rick Burris.
A broken fence on one of the properties. A broken fence on one of the properties.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville family says they are sick and tired of living in the middle of a dump.

They say recently abandoned properties around their home have become overgrown and full of trash.

A bigger problem, they say, is an increase in the number of rats.

"I actually came out here last week and cleaned this up myself and now it's already covered with garbage again," explained homeowner Rick Burris.

Burris and his family have lived on West Oldham Avenue for the past 16 years. Recently, more and more people have illegally dumped trash in the alley behind his home.

"This alley is not only an eyesore, in fact, it's sometimes embarrassing for people to come visit, because they have to drive down this alley," said Burris. "There is also a lot of health and safety risks."

Along with all the trash, three abandoned lots on their street have become overgrown. The fence on one lot has started to fall down.

The Burris family says the neglected lot directly behind their home has become a breeding ground for rats.

"I came home from work the other day and got out of the car," said Burris. "I thought there was a cat in my trash. I scared it away. It was a big, old rat. That was it. I had to do something now."

They hired a professional exterminator and put rat traps outside their home.

After the Burris family contacted 6 News, we contacted David Brace, Knoxville's public works director, who came out to the family's home Friday to evaluate the problems.

"The littering and cleaning up of the alley, that is something we can take care of," said Brace. "There was a fence that's dangerous on what appears to be an abandoned lot, so we are going to do a due notice on that dangerous fence."

Brace says a few of the lots on this street are already in the system. He says the property owners will be contacted, and the area should be mowed and cleaned up quickly.

The Burrises are just grateful something now is going to be done to clean up their neighborhood.

Brace says if you ever have a concern about neglected properties in your neighborhood, all you need to do is call the Public Works Department and file a complaint.

The easiest way to do that is to call 311.

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