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Stockel residents up in arms over influx of rats around Place Dumon
Residents of a neighbourhood in the Brussels municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre have made several complaints about the rising number of rats in the area.
The increase in the rat population on Place Dumon in the neighbourhood of Stockel is a result of the flooding and heavy rain in recent weeks, according to Green politician Caroline Lhoir, the councillor responsible for public cleanliness. In addition to the weather, the construction work on Avenue de Hinnisdael and the abundance of rubbish bins around the Dumon marketplace has also led to an influx of the rodents.
Stories from residents have begun cropping up on Facebook in recent days. Several people have claimed that they have been confronted with worrying numbers of rats. "I was walking my dog and I saw a dozen rats,” one resident said. “In 30 years, I have never seen anything like it.”
Lhoir said that she was aware of the problem and was in contact with various public services in an attempt to find a solution but maintained that the number of rats had not risen in the area, only that the existing population had been forced into the open by factors such as the weather, disruptions to their usual habitat and the search for food. "The factors mentioned only increase their visibility,” she said. “We should not think that the situation has gotten out of hand."
"We laid out bait a few weeks ago and we will intervene again soon," water supplier Vivaqua, one of the public services contacted by councillor Lhoir, said in a statement. "'So, we do our part with our work on the sewer system, but we don't have the authority to intervene on the street."
Complaints about rats in other neighbourhoods have also begun to circulate on social media in recent days.