Old law puts 10 cent bounty on dead rats, Southgate man claims

Old law puts 10 cent bounty on dead rats, Southgate man claims

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Jay Turnmire Jay Turnmire
SOUTHGATE, Mich. (WJBK) -

How would you feel if you were forced to have rats running around your neighborhood?

"I ran a couple of them over," said Lisette Montry. "I aim for them. They're targets."

We know how she feels about the rats, but some folks would rather get rid of these rascals in a more humane way. Probably not like Jay Turnmire did, either.

"You fill it about three quarters of the way up, throw some grass on there and float some peanut butter on there. They jump in the bucket, and they can't get out so they drown," he said.

What is inside his gray bucket is so gross we would not dare show you.

"13 or 14," Turnmire said. "I can't count them all."

"I don't know how to get rid of them."

In the City of Southgate, Montry said the rodents started roaming around after "they tore up Fort Street. They all vacated this way, and the city didn't think when they tore the road up."

Which has Turnmire upset. He believes the city is trying hide the problem and not help the people.

"My only recourse was to keep getting these rats and bringing them in there until they did something about it," he said.

His plan is to bring his pail to the powers that be inside of city hall.

"It's just going to get worse for them if it's bad for me," Turnmire said. "When I bring them in there, I want city hall to stink up. I want them to get the point."

Turnmire thinks he will get paid for them, too. He is pointing to a state law from way back in the day that puts a ten cent bounty on the head of a dead rat.

"I'm not sure that's appropriate," said Mayor Joseph Kuspa. "I'm not aware of any law here in the City of Southgate. From what I understand in getting a little bit of education on it, it's a century old law."

"I know that the City of Southgate in and of itself has no ordinance indicating that there is a bounty on any rats or any other animal."

"Take it to the mayor. I bet he don't live with rats," said Kevin Montry.

"We had put some traps down, and we caught a few rodents, actually rats, and from that experience, we realized and we learned, we educated ourselves on what attracts them and what to do in our own yard," the mayor said. "We cleaned up an area behind the garage, and fortunately this year, as a result of the diligence that we've been able to do here on our own property, we don't experience the rats here."

So what is the Kuspa's response to Turnmire's city hall stunt to startle everyone to jump into action.

"Everybody knows what a rat looks like. We know there's some issues here in Southgate, and we're trying to address them the best we can from a municipality standpoint, but it really boils down to also the property owner has to be very actively involved with this," he said.

The mayor did say the city is willing to show people how they can improve the conditions around their property to get rid of the rats and rodents. They are also working on getting a better handle on the foreclosed properties and with the Wayne County Health Department to come up with ways to educate the citizens with a goal of eradicating the rat problem once and for all.

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