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Neighbors concerned over vacant Palm Desert home with rat infestation

A rat infestation at a vacant home inside the Palm Desert Greens Country Club is turning out to be a problem without a simple solution. 

Michael Leo and his mother, Donna Leo, live next to the home whose owner died in January. Since the person hasn't had any heirs take ownership of the home, it has been vacant for the past several months.

“We contacted an exterminator, our neighbor contacted an exterminator, found out we are infested," said Michael Leo.

Leo’s home shares a fence with the rat-infested home. He said not only has he spotted live rats inside the home, but he has also found dead rats around his property.

Piles of trash and rat feces can be seen through the home's window's, and neighbors are concerned the uncleanliness will only make matters worse.

The group of neighbors have been paying an exterminator out of pocket $300 a month each but it hasn’t stopped the rats. 

They have also reached out to the HOA, the city, and a number of state agencies in search of help.

“I was led to the Department of Environmental Health, who has a whole page about disease rats carry and when I called them they said there is no city, county, state agency that will deal with this," according to Tom Foley, who also lives at the Palm Desert Greens Country Club.

The Director of Security for the HOA, Jim Seablom, said they can't do much because the matter involves private property.

“Our authorities are only involved with common areas and road ways and facilities and buildings,” explained Seablom.

The city of Palm Desert has taken steps to help, which include cleaning up trash in front of another home recently left vacant, but residents are concerned the big problem remains unaddressed.

The neighbors say the county is in possession of the home for now, and eventually the probate court will step in. 

“That could be months in the court system and in the meantime they’re breeding, they’re getting bigger, they’re spreading throughout this development," said Foley.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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